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Republic of Palau: Typhoon Surigae - Operation Update Report n° 1, DREF n° MDRPW001

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Summary of major revisions made to emergency plan of action:

The operation is extended by two months from 31 July 2021 to 30 September 2021 to allow for final distribution activities. Community rapid damage assessment teams (RDAT) and state government actors could not distribute essential household items (EHI) and cash and voucher assistance (CVA) as planned in July. State governments, local youth and communities were occupied with the annual the Belau Games in May and June. State elections also took place in Koror state, where 50% of the targeted population resides. As the Typhoon Surigae response is the first operation led by Palau Red Cross in many years, the National Society needed more time to distribute, monitor and conduct a lesson learned exercise.

The overall budget remains the same, but reallocations have been made to reflect in-kind donations, decreased international freight costs due to the World Food Programme (WFP) flights, and increased local logistics and volunteer costs. Details are provided in the financial section at the end of the report.

Overall targeted population has reduced by 459 households / 1,979 people, from 1,822 households / 7,288 people to 1,363 households / 5,309 people. Detailed needs assessments found less damage than anticipated in Koror and Airai, as initial damage assessments were not complete when the operation was launched. The detailed changes in targeted population are listed in section B. The budget, relief items and activities have been adjusted accordingly.

  • Shelter: Targeted population reduced to 1,186 households / 4,791 people.

  • Health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) with protection, gender and inclusion (PGI): Reduced to 1,363 households / 5,309 people.

  • Cash and voucher assistance (CVA): Increased livelihoods and basic needs support to 1,186 households / 4,791 people.


Description of the disaster

Tropical disturbance Invest 94W centred on southeast Yap and Palau on 13 April 2021. It was marked as a severe tropical storm 02W on the 14 April and upgraded into Typhoon Surigae on 16 April. Typhoon Surigae was not just the strongest typhoon in the northern hemisphere before May, it was also the most intense on record, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Typhoon Surigae passed over the north of Palau, closest to Kayangel state. Up to 136 kilometres per hour of sustained wind speeds caused heavy rainfall and swells, power outages, communication service disruptions, water cuts, fallen debris, road blockages and landslides.

All 16 states across the main island and five outer islands were affected by excessive rain and high winds. The rain and wind blew roofs off houses and damaged critical water and power infrastructure in Anguar, Peleliu, Kayangel, and Koror. The storm produced large waves that were 23 meters (75 feet) high at their peak. It is estimated 1,500 houses were damaged and 150 destroyed, along with belongings and farming investments