Producer Peter Thomson
November 14, 2013
The world’s attention has been focused this past week on the ongoing disaster in the Philippines, as millions of residents there struggle to cope with the unprecedented crisis brought on by Typhoon Haiyan.
But other countries in the region also suffered at least glancing blows from the storm, including the small Pacific island nation of Palau, just a few hundred miles east of the Philippines.
The World’s Ari Daniel, who happened to be in Palau this week reporting on coral reefs, says the area hardest hit by Haiyan was the northernmost island of Kayangel.
Daniel says the storm’s eye passed within about five miles of Kayangel, destroying houses, blowing off roofs, and damaging trees and infrastructure. But he says some residents evacuated before the storm and just about everyone cleared out after it blew through. No deaths were reported.
One saving grace, Daniel reports, was that the typhoon hit during low tide, which prevented a bigger storm surge. Still he says, a relief effort is underway to provide housing and assistance to displaced residents and restore damaged infrastructure.
Haiyan was the second typhoon to blow through what’s normally a relatively quiet corner of the Pacific in the last 11 months, which Daniel says has left many Palauans concerned about the growing impact of climate change there.
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