Palau, situated east of the Philippines and north-east of Indonesia, consists of more than 300 islands, stretching over 650 km, of which only nine are inhabited. Palau, a Micronesian country, is divided into 16 states and has one of the highest standards of living of Pacific Island countries.
Palau faces a relatively moderate degree of risk to natural disasters, and mainly experiences tropical storms, drought and tidal surges. Like other Pacific Island countries, Palau is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including severe weather events and rising sea levels.
In December 2012, Palau was hit by Tropical Cyclone Bopha and, while there was no loss of life, it caused extensive damage to coastal houses and infrastructure. Less than 12 months later, Palau was struck by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, devastating homes and infrastructure in the northern states of Kayangel, Ngerchelong and Ngaraard. In both emergencies, OCHA provided coordination and resource mobilization support to Government and humanitarian partners.
Despite Palau’s natural disaster risk, human-induced disasters have also affected the island nation. In September 1996, the Koror-Babeldaob Bridge, spanning Palau’s two main islands, collapsed suddenly, and in 2002 a report found that Palau's public water supply was contaminated due to a violation of public water standards.