Palau Seeking Loans For Typhoon Recovery Efforts

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President Remengesau says emergency funding ‘not enough’

By Aurea Gerundio-Dizon

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Nov. 27, 2013) – President Remengesau is looking into getting a very low interest development loan assistance to supplement the emergency funding for the typhoon relief efforts.

The president, in an interview Wednesday at Palau Wave radio station, admitted that the amount of money that the government currently has for the relief efforts is not enough.

Under emergency powers earlier, Remengesau appropriated $1,480,000 to afford immediate relief to those affected by the super typhoon, including the restoration of basic infrastructures. The source for this funding is the unobligated local revenue collections that is anticipated for Fiscal Year 2014 ($.66 million) and the General Reserve Fund in FY 2014 National Budget ($.82 million).

In addition, the president said that donations from different countries and organization for the ongoing relief operations amount to half a million so far.

However, based on initial damage assessment released by the National Emergency Committee, cost of damages was estimated to be approximately $6 million.

Remengesau said that for the housing alone, it was estimated that recovery cost will be at least $3 million.

Initial Damage Assessment showed there were 433 homes damaged/destroyed by the typhoon. For the damaged houses from Ngarchelong to Koror, a total of $2 million was estimated in recovery cost. In Kayangel, residential homes reconstruction was estimated to cost approximately $1.8 million.

The president said he looks into getting loan from the Republic of China or some other sources. He said that the government is currently in discussion with Bank of Guam. He also plans to seek Asian Development Bank assistance, in partnership with Palau Housing Authority.

Remengesau assured that the government will continue to look for effective ways to meet the funding needed for relief and recovery efforts.

Meanwhile, Remengesau announced in a press conference at Palau Wave that he will be creating a Super Typhoon Haiyan Relief Effort Committee that will oversee implementation of NEC recommendations.

The committee shall be composed of State Minister Billy Kuartei, who shall act as chairman, Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce Min. Charles Obichang, Capital Improvement Project Office Manager and Bureau of Public Works Acting Dir. Brian Melairei, President’s Chief of Staff Secilil Eldebechel, Palau Housing Authority Executive Dir. Frida Delmau and Division of Procurement and Supply Chief Millan Isack.

Remengesau said the first task of the committee is to establish policies for providing assistance to those affected by the super typhoon.

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