Koror, Palau – A cargo van was officially handed over to the Ministry of Health in the Republic of Palau by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) COVID-19 Response Support in the Pacific project. The van will support the transfer of essential medical and non-medical goods and equipment. The ceremony, held at the Ministry of Health conference room at the Belau National Hospital, was attended by the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Resident Representative, Mr. Levan Bouadze and the UNDP team in Palau, the Palau Vice-President and Minister of Justice, Hon. Uduch Segebau-Senior, the Ambassador of Japan to Palau, H.E. Akira Karasawa, and Palau Minister of Health and Human Services, Hon. Gaafar J. Uherbelau, among others.
The handover is part of the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji support to Pacific Island countries with over US$1.8 million. Funded by the Government of Japan, the project has also supplied non-medical equipment such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and waste disposal carts for safer operation of COVID-19 response.
The COVID-19 pandemic is more than just a health crisis. It is deeply affecting societies and economies and its impacts vary from country to country. As the pandemic exacerbated poverty and inequalities, jeopardizing lives, and livelihoods for years to come, urgent socio-economic responses are required at all levels.
The cargo van will assist some of these needs by delivering medical and non-medical goods and equipment to the most vulnerable groups in Palau.
UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Resident Representative, Mr. Levan Bouadze opened the handover ceremony. In his remarks, he expressed his appreciation to the Government of Japan for their generous support, which enables UNDP to meet the needs requested by the Government of Palau to strengthen the health system management and deal with the impacts of COVID-19.
He added, “The Government of Japan is a key development partner worldwide, and especially here in the region where it understands and contributes to addressing the unique development challenges that Pacific people and countries are facing.”
His Excellency Mr. Akira Karasawa, Ambassador of Japan to Palau, expressed his respect for the Government of Palau in handling this difficult situation, which led to a drop in the number of cases. He mentioned, “The van will transport necessary supplies to those who really need it. This is why this project is very important and timely.”
Palau Minister of Health and Human Services, Hon. Gaafar J. Uherbelau, expressed appreciation to the support provided by the Government of Japan and UNDP.
He said, “Without this support, it would not have been possible to organize the Our Ocean Conference. We had the confidence to organize such an important event and this week we will show the resilience we need on moving forward.”
During her closing remarks, Madam Vice President and Minister for Justice, Hon. Uduch Segebau-Senior said, “We are thankful for this collaboration that allows to provide support to those who are in need.
“Thanks to the Government of Japan for their support and to UNDP to implement such an important initiative for our country.”
The UNDP COVID-19 Response Support project provides support to the Pacific countries in three key priorities, including strengthening health systems to respond to COVID-19, managing inclusive and multi-sectoral crisis responses, and addressing the socio-economic impact of COVID-19.
For more information, please contact:
Paula Cirikiyasawa, Country Project Coordinator, EDCR Project Office in the Republic of Palau, Tel: +(691) 320 4456, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org