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Palau Could Completely Dry Up This Month Due To El Niño

The Pacific nation of Palau is at risk of completely drying up this month, leaving locals scrambling to conserve water and government officials seeking emergency aid from neighboring countries.The island country, which is home to 18,000 residents and approximately 15,000 tourists a month, has been hit by a life-threatening drought fueled by El Niño. "[Koror, the nation's largest town] has seen 8.23 inches of rain Jan. 1-April 4," said meteorologist Chris Dolce. "They typically see 30.83 inches during that timeframe. That's about 27 percent of average." The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency recently declared Palau in the Extreme Drought Level 3 of 4, observing that the cumulative rainfall for Koror for the first part of the year was the lowest recorded since 1951. Last month, Palau Public Utilities Corp. (PPUC) put restrictive water rationing programs into effect after the Ngerimel Dam, supplying water to Koror, was completely depleted. Palau resident Jeffrey Barabe told in a phone interview that the water crisis is affecting all commerce and daily life in the country.
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David Walker
8 April 2016

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