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Residents hope to return to Palau's Kayangal island after Typhoon Haiyan

Thursday May 8, 2014 - 19:33 EST
ABC licensed image
Trees and power lines down in Koror, the most populated state of Palau, following Super Typhoon Haiyan - ABC licensed

Before it hit the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan also devastated the small island of Kayangal in Palau.

While there were no deaths in Kayangal, all of the homes on the island were destroyed, forcing those who lived there to be moved out.

But Palau's vice president, Antonio Bells, says it's hoped the typhoon survivors will soon be able to return to their island.

Mr Bells, who's also the head of the national emergency committee, says houses, schools and infrastructure are being rebuilt.

"We have been able now to begin the rebuilding of the homes in the northern island of Kayangal where all the homes were completely destroyed," he told Radio Australia's .

"(We are) also rebuilding the power generators, the water supply and maybe in good time shortly, the people will be able to start moving back."

The typhoon has displaced about 80 people on the island.

Mr Bells says efforts are being made to ensure the island's residents are protected from the effects of severe storms in the future.

"The homes, I understand, were to be elevated in anticipation that we would have typhoons in the future, at least a little bit elevated so that the water doesn't wash into the homes," he said.

"The structures are being made to withstand the winds.

"But I guess there's only so much you can do on a very low level island."

He says schools are also on the restoration list and will be reopened soon.

"The children moved to the capital of Palau, Koror. Most of them are going to schools in Koror," he said.

"They all say they are keen to return ... They just want to go back home."

However, Mr Bells says the government may have to consider permanently relocating the residents if there are any more disasters.


© ABC 2014

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