The Republic of Palau
The Republic of Palau is an island country in the western Pacific with an estimated population of 18,000 people covering 16 states across the 340 small islands. Since 2006, the capital city has been situated in Ngerulmud. After being under the Spanish, German, Japanese, and American administrations, Palau became independent in 1981 when a new constitution was approved.
During World War II, the country was used by Japan to support its invasion of the Philippines in 1941. In 1944, the costly Battles of Peleliu and Angaur occurred, which led to a United States victory. Nearly 80 years after the end of World War II, Palau is still contaminated with Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) on land and in the sea. NPA supports the development of a national team in Mine Action Activities to record and plan all tasks via a national database (IMSMA & ArcGIS).
Norwegian People's Aid in Palau
The NPA programme in the Republic of Palau started 1st of April 2015. After a steady period of mobilisation, planning and agreeing on a memorandum of understanding with the Government, the project commenced in June 2016 to map out the contamination across the country by applying Non-Technical Surveys (NTS). The NTS identified 188 hazardous areas. The schedule estimated Land Release methodologies through Technical Survey (TS) and Clearance would complete by February 2020. However, the work continues with an increased work plan due to COVID and additional tasks being highlighted.
Due to the battles in 1944, contamination exists throughout all 16 states of Palau. The types of ammunition range found consist of projectiles, mortars, rockets, anti-aircraft ammunition, grenades, aircraft bombs, sea mines, beach mines, and torpedoes. In partnership with the National Safety Office, NPA has safely removed and disarmed over 20,000 unexploded ordnance.
With new and improved community engagements, NPA has increased its Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) nationwide.
Under Government direction, High Order demolitions are restricted to emergency cases only. Therefore, NPA continues to research and develop alternative means of disposal, one of which is Remote Bandsaw Cutting and Deflagration. This method renders the items safe and free of explosives.