Critical air transport services to small islands in the Republic of Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia have received federal funds to maintain and upgrade equipment.
A statement from the Department of Interior’s Office of Island Affairs said the office had awarded $431,805 to Pacific Mission Aviation, a non-profit organization that has been in Micronesia for nearly 50 years.
“High waves often make this form of travel very dangerous, rendering many small islands totally isolated for weeks. Airdrops of relief supplies immediately after a typhoon may be the atoll’s only hope for survival,” PMA said on its website. “Often we land on a nearby island and still have to travel another hour or two in an outrigger canoe, navigating treacherous reefs and often high waves to reach some of the islands we service!”
The OIA noted that the services it provides include transport throughout the region, but especially for communities where no scheduled air or sea transport is available.
“We are pleased to support individuals and families in the small islands of the Republic of Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia who have less access and whose economy and livelihoods depend on these essential transportation services,” said the deputy assistant secretary for island and international affairs. Keone Nakoa cases.
The funding will also be used to purchase spare parts and equipment for emergency transportation, according to the OIA.
“The small aircraft in question provides passenger and cargo transportation, emergency medical evacuation for COVID-19 patients and other health-related emergencies, disaster relief preparedness, general surveillance against illegal activities in (exclusive economic zones) and search and rescue efforts, all critical for small island nations with large exclusive economic zones in the greater Western Pacific,” Nakoa said.