Palau President Tommy Remengesau recently thanked Taiwan for the rapid response and strong support in offering relief supplies to his country after it was ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan last month.
In an interview with the Central News Agency, Remengesau said the Taiwanese government and the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China were “just like Santa Claus,” delivering urgently needed supplies to residents impacted by the typhoon.
Haiyan pounded the Pacific island country’s northeastern state of Kayangel on Nov. 8, leaving damage unseen in the state since 1976, when it was hit by another powerful storm.
While 16 of the 79 residents of Kayangel — who stayed in their homes despite an order to evacuate — survived the typhoon, most of the buildings were left roofless and without water or electricity, even more than a month after the disaster.
With the world’s attention focused on the devastation in the Philippines, which suffered far greater loss of life and damage from the same storm, Palau’s president said he decided to write to the Red Cross Society and other agencies in the US and Japan because of the scant response from his own country’s Red Cross.
After receiving the letter from Remengesau, Red Cross Society said it began sourcing portable housing units, as well as food and water containers, which were delivered by the navy.
The first supplies arrived in Palau on Dec. 18 and a second shipment is to be delivered early next year.