The Republic of Palau located in the western Pacific Ocean, is part of the Micronesia region. The latitude and longitude of the island state is 7 degrees 30’N and 134 degrees 30’ E. The country’s population is around 21000. Palau’s capital Ngerulmud is situated in Babeldaob. Palau is made up 250 islands, Koror being the most populated situating 67% of the total population. Angaur, Babeldaob, Koror and Peleliu are most populated islands in Palau.
Politically wise, Palau is a presidential republic in free association with the United States. The United States provides the island with defense, funding and social services.
CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT
Palau has tropical climate with heavy rainfall throughout the year. The country is as vulnerable to typhoons or cyclones as to most Pacific countries. Earthquakes and volcanic activity are also experienced by the island.
Palau faces a number of environmental problems namely illegal dynamite fishing, inadequate solid waste and extensive sand and coral dredging. Moreover, another major environmental threat is sea level rise. This has threatened low-lying areas with its vegetation, agriculture and water supply.
Saltwater crocodiles are found in Palau, known for its extreme danger, there have not been a recent fatal accident. Since September of 2009, Palau has banned all commercial shark fishing within its waters. This protects 600,000 square kilometers of marine ecosystem, hence received a Future Policy Award.
The primary economic earners for Palau are tourism, agriculture and fishing.
Scuba diving and snorkeling are favorite tourist activities. It showcases the islands’ rich marine ecosystem with inclusion of history with world War II wrecks. The Palauan government relies financially on the U.S for assistance.
Air Services are also very important, providing services for the country.
There have been several television programs and documentary’s shot in Palau.
Transport in the island of Palau relies only on private boats and domestic air services. Koror is the only place bus services are offered. There are no railway services in the islands.
LANGUAGES AND RELIGION
Palauan and English are the official languages of Palau. This is exceptional to two states; Sonsorolese and Tobian, where only local language triumphs.
Christianity is the main religion affiliating 75% of the population. Roman Catholics and Protestants are the top denominations. Also, some combine Christian values and their tradition beliefs.
Mahayana Buddhism is popular among Japanese settlers in the country. There is approximately 400 Bengali Muslims in Palau.
Matrilineal system is strictly followed in Palau; these are mainly seen in funerals, marriage, inheritance and traditional titles. Traditional food and drinks such as kava and beetle nut are enjoyed in Palau.
National affairs are still influenced by traditional government. There have been attempts to limit its power with very little success.
After its introduction by the Japanese in the 1920’s, Baseball has been the most popular sport. Football is also played in Palau.