In March, Typhoon Surigae swept by Palau, catching Palauans off-guard as weather reports forecasted the occurrence of solid winds commonly associated with tropical storms. Palauan fishers around the island had noticed unusual tidal behavior over the past several months in which tides appeared to be considerably higher than usual. The higher waves continue to adversely impact low-lying communities whose homes and village infrastructure have suffered damages from flooding and coastal erosion. Over the last few years, there have been other unusual weather and marine patterns, coral bleaching, and ocean acidification. These erratic weather and marine conditions seem to validate much of the scientific projections of increasing and intensifying climate change impacts.
As a result of Typhoon Surigae, many people had no power, water, and cell/internet for days. It also forced OneReef to cancel its Earth Day activities this year. However, Palauans demonstrated their resilience by undertaking quick recovery efforts that involved entire communities/villages in working together, clearing roads, schools, and towns of scattered debris, and rebuilding damaged structures.