By EA3 Mark Monton, NMCB 133 Public Affairs
UT2 Samuel Kellogg, NMCB 133 CAT Palau, delivers three-gallon containers of potable water to medically homebound residents, Korer, Republic of Palau.
Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 Civic Action Team (CAT) Palau supplied much-needed water to the local populace in response to a recent national water crisis. One of two water mains running underneath the Koror-Babeldaob Bridge recently separated, contaminating the water supply for the country’s largest city, Koror. The Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) was still able to supply water to the community via the second water main; however, they could not meet the required capacity. In addition, water produced during serviceable hours is often murky requiring boiling before consumption.
Already producing potable water, NMCB 133 CAT Palau increased production to support the national water crisis. “We use a 3000D Water Purification System on Camp Katuu,” explained Utilitiesman 2nd Class Samuel Kellogg, NMCB 133. “It takes one person to operate, and produces 3,000 gallons of potable water an hour.”
Palau’s Presidential Chief of Staff Secilil Eldebebechel identified two sites in need of non-potable water. Following a meeting with Kione Isechal, chief executive officer at PPUC, Seabees from NMCB 133 CAT Palau – including Lt. j.g. Rhett Johnson, officer in charge; Chief Construction Electrician Jennifer Read, senior enlisted leader; and Utilitiesman 2nd Class Samuel Kellogg – responded with a 500-gallon water tank for Koror’s Seventh Day Adventist School and a 400-gallon water buffalo for Koror’s Ngerbeched Village. The CAT refilled the tanks as necessary, providing increased sanitation for the highland areas.
The CAT is also working alongside the Palauan Red Cross, Presidential Chief of Staff, Koror State Government and PPUC to provide three-gallon containers of potable water to medically homebound residents.
“It is crucial to partner with other entities,” said Charles Reklai Mitchell, disaster management officer for the Palauan Red Cross. “Only with this partnership were we able to succeed in the mission. We hope to keep this strong partnership for any future emergencies.”
UT2 Samuel Kellogg (left), NMCB 133 CAT Palau, and a Red Cross volunteer, deliver three-gallon containers of potable water to medically homebound residents during the national water crisis, Korer, Republic of Palau.
The Red Cross provided containers while Seabees and their local national apprentices filled containers on camp. The next day, the Red Cross and CAT delivered water to residents of 119 homes within the Koror State.
“It felt good to help people who really needed it,” commented Builder 3rd Class Jon Patterson, NMCB 133 CAT Palau. “Boaz Belibei [one of the CAT apprentices] and I delivered about 80 of the containers to homes. The people were indeed grateful.”
While the Palauan government is actively working to replace the compromised pipeline, the CAT is standing by to support. Fausto DeGuzman, interim Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy of Palau, applauded the CAT’s efforts.
“Palauans, both ordinary citizens and those in the government, will remember the assistance the CAT provided for a long time to come,” DeGuzman said. “Beyond helping Palauans meet their immediate needs, your team’s work also helps the U.S. Embassy conduct our diplomacy by strengthening our bilateral relationship. This is an example of how defense and diplomacy can work hand in hand to advance the United States’ interests.”
CAT Palau continues to strengthen the Republic of Palau by providing construction support, engineering apprenticeships, medical outreach and community support to the local populace.