Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Amb. John Hennessy-Niland, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Palau, delivered personal protective equipment to President Surangel Whipps Jr., President of the Republic of Palau, and Gaafar Uherbelau, Minister of Health and Human Services for the Republic of Palau, Feb 23.
Aquilino visited the Pacific island nation to discuss regional challenges and reaffirm our strong, longstanding commitment to supporting the people of Palau in combating COVID 19. The delivery, in the form of 30,000 N95 masks, was provided at the request of Palau.
“I’m honored to be able to deliver these masks on behalf of the United States, helping support the COVID response effort here on Palau,” said Adm. Aquilino. “This delivery is about taking care of people and the work that’s been done on the COVID front by the people of Palau is nothing short of admirable.”
To date, total U.S. government support to the Pacific Islands for COVID-19 response stands over $118 million, including over $90 million funding support to the U.S. Freely Associated States (Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Palau) from the Department of Defense, Department of the Interior, Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Education, and Department of Labor.
“Palau and the United States share a very special relationship and that relationship continues to grow,” said President Whipps. “During this time of COVID it has been on display more than any other time. When we received the first vaccines last January from the U.S., that was the first ray of hope that we would be able to make it through this.
Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested over $5.21 billion in assistance to the Pacific Islands.
“There is no better example in the Pacific, and I dare say globally, than Palau in terms of how it has met the challenge of COVID,” said Amb. Hennessy-Niland. “I want to thank INDOPACOM and Adm. Aquilino for this delivery and continuing that whole of government COVID approach with the Republic of Palau.”