Images of an island nation

One of the countless, untouched sandy beaches you see among Palau’s hundreds of islands.

Need to Know in Palau 

One of the countless, untouched sandy beaches you see among Palau’s hundreds of islands.

The Palauan Capitol building. It’s quite a shock when you’re driving through the lush, undeveloped hillsides of Palau to suddenly see this gleaming capitol sitting alone on the ridge.  The Palauan government built the capitol on Babeldaob, the largest (but far less populated) island in Palau hoping residents would move and settle near the capitol. As you can see, so far, that migration hasn’t occurred.

Need to Know in Palau 

The Palauan Capitol building. It’s quite a shock when you’re driving through the lush, undeveloped hillsides of Palau to suddenly see this gleaming capitol sitting alone on the ridge. The Palauan government built the capitol on Babeldaob, the largest (but far less populated) island in Palau hoping residents would move and settle near the capitol. As you can see, so far, that migration hasn’t occurred.

A huge collapse along the main highway in Palau.  The so-called “Compact Road” (named after the “Compact of Free Association” which is the financial/political agreement between Palau and the United States) has several of these huge washouts.  While in Palau, we heard multiple theories on who’s to blame for the bad engineering.

Need to Know in Palau 

A huge collapse along the main highway in Palau. The so-called “Compact Road” (named after the “Compact of Free Association” which is the financial/political agreement between Palau and the United States) has several of these huge washouts. While in Palau, we heard multiple theories on who’s to blame for the bad engineering.

The near-daily rainstorms in Palau produce some remarkable rainbows.

Need to Know in Palau 

The near-daily rainstorms in Palau produce some remarkable rainbows.

Crack of dawn at “Happy Landings” Fish market in Korror, Palau. Palauan spear-fishermen arrive every morning on small boats to sell the fish they’ve caught overnight.

Need to Know in Palau 

Crack of dawn at “Happy Landings” Fish market in Korror, Palau. Palauan spear-fishermen arrive every morning on small boats to sell the fish they’ve caught overnight.

Another shot inside “Happy Landings” fish market.  To see what just one spear-fisherman can catch in one night is testament to the incredible bounty along Palau’s coral reefs.

Need to Know in Palau 

Another shot inside “Happy Landings” fish market. To see what just one spear-fisherman can catch in one night is testament to the incredible bounty along Palau’s coral reefs.

A woman and a young boy search for clams and crabs along the shore in Palau. Subsistence fishing is one of the major food sources for Palauns.

Need to Know in Palau 

A woman and a young boy search for clams and crabs along the shore in Palau. Subsistence fishing is one of the major food sources for Palauns.

Danielle Muniz and William Brangham doing some initial camera tests in Palau with a Canon 5d.  We’re just now experimenting shooting footage with the HDSLR cameras – the results of which can be seen in our video report “Paradise Lost?”

Need to Know in Palau 

Danielle Muniz and William Brangham doing some initial camera tests in Palau with a Canon 5d. We’re just now experimenting shooting footage with the HDSLR cameras – the results of which can be seen in our video report “Paradise Lost?”

This woman lives in a small house by the water on the east coast of Palau’s largest island.  Her family has owned this property since the 1960s, but as the beach behind their home has eroded, they now must consider abandoning their family home and relocating.  It’s unclear if they have enough money to buy new land elsewhere.

Need to Know in Palau 

This woman lives in a small house by the water on the east coast of Palau’s largest island. Her family has owned this property since the 1960s, but as the beach behind their home has eroded, they now must consider abandoning their family home and relocating. It’s unclear if they have enough money to buy new land elsewhere.

Two of the five children who live in this house. Their grandmother worries that with the water now coming right to their back door, the kids could be threatened by the crocodiles that patrol the waters along this coast.

Need to Know in Palau 

Two of the five children who live in this house. Their grandmother worries that with the water now coming right to their back door, the kids could be threatened by the crocodiles that patrol the waters along this coast.

Need to Know’s Hannah Yi filming behind the same family’s house.  The low rock wall in the distance used to be very closest the ocean ever came to the family’s home – but now it comes right up to backdoor of the house.

Need to Know in Palau 

Need to Know’s Hannah Yi filming behind the same family’s house. The low rock wall in the distance used to be very closest the ocean ever came to the family’s home – but now it comes right up to backdoor of the house.

Another shot of Hannah Yi filming.  The sandy patch where Hannah is standing used to be solid ground, but as the beach has eroded, that land has been lost to the sea.  Notice the large tree roots exposed to the air --as the land has been eaten away, the family has lost many of their trees.  They lost several coconut trees as well -- those that remain are so tainted by saltwater that their fruit is inedible.

Need to Know in Palau 

Another shot of Hannah Yi filming. The sandy patch where Hannah is standing used to be solid ground, but as the beach has eroded, that land has been lost to the sea. Notice the large tree roots exposed to the air --as the land has been eaten away, the family has lost many of their trees. They lost several coconut trees as well -- those that remain are so tainted by saltwater that their fruit is inedible.

A photo on the wall of Palauan President Johnson Toribiong’s office, showing him meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  While Palau and the U.S. have a long, rich relationship, Palau’s recent push to hold the developed world legally accountable for the damage caused by climate change has caused some strain between Palau and the U.S..

Need to Know in Palau 

A photo on the wall of Palauan President Johnson Toribiong’s office, showing him meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While Palau and the U.S. have a long, rich relationship, Palau’s recent push to hold the developed world legally accountable for the damage caused by climate change has caused some strain between Palau and the U.S..

Need to Know’s Danielle Muniz taking a break from filming in Palau.

Need to Know in Palau 

Need to Know’s Danielle Muniz taking a break from filming in Palau.

Our mobile office while filming across Palau.

Need to Know in Palau 

Our mobile office while filming across Palau.

A little boy off to do some fishing.

Need to Know in Palau 

A little boy off to do some fishing.

A basket of taro – a root vegetable that’s a big part of the Palauan diet.  Sea-level rise and coastal erosion has caused saltwater to intrude into many taro patches across Palau, thus ruining the crop.

Need to Know in Palau 

A basket of taro – a root vegetable that’s a big part of the Palauan diet. Sea-level rise and coastal erosion has caused saltwater to intrude into many taro patches across Palau, thus ruining the crop.

We saw huge fruit bats flying among the trees in Palau, but has as Hannah Yi said: we never expected to see them on a dinner menu.  Fruit Bat soup is considered a delicacy in Palau, but not one of us was game enough to try it.

Need to Know in Palau 

We saw huge fruit bats flying among the trees in Palau, but has as Hannah Yi said: we never expected to see them on a dinner menu. Fruit Bat soup is considered a delicacy in Palau, but not one of us was game enough to try it.

Five of the former prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba who now live in Palau.   Palau was one of the only nations in the world to agree to take in these men, who are ethnic Chinese known as Uighurs.  Their time in Palau was supposed to be temporary, but they’ve now been stuck there in a legal-limbo for almost three years.  Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of “Need to Know” where we tell their story.

Need to Know in Palau 

Five of the former prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba who now live in Palau. Palau was one of the only nations in the world to agree to take in these men, who are ethnic Chinese known as Uighurs. Their time in Palau was supposed to be temporary, but they’ve now been stuck there in a legal-limbo for almost three years. Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of “Need to Know” where we tell their story.

It was front page news the day the Uighurs landed in Palau.  Even though the men were considered innocent of any threat to the U.S., note how the local paper refers to them:  “…six bearded Moslem terrorists in shackles…”  The Uighurs told us they’ve had a hard time living down this reputation.

Need to Know in Palau 

It was front page news the day the Uighurs landed in Palau. Even though the men were considered innocent of any threat to the U.S., note how the local paper refers to them: “…six bearded Moslem terrorists in shackles…” The Uighurs told us they’ve had a hard time living down this reputation.

Need to Know’s Danielle Muniz on one of the beaches where contestants from CBS’s hit show “Survivor” stayed when that show filmed in Palau several years ago.

Need to Know in Palau 

Need to Know’s Danielle Muniz on one of the beaches where contestants from CBS’s hit show “Survivor” stayed when that show filmed in Palau several years ago.

Footsteps on the “Survivor” beach.

Need to Know in Palau 

Footsteps on the “Survivor” beach.

Two of the most common things you’ll find in Palau: hibiscus flowers and a rainstorm.

Need to Know in Palau 

Two of the most common things you’ll find in Palau: hibiscus flowers and a rainstorm.

Hannah Yi’s collection of old corals along the beach.

Need to Know in Palau 

Hannah Yi’s collection of old corals along the beach.

Need to Know’s William Brangham and Danielle Muniz hard(ly) at work.

Need to Know in Palau 

Need to Know’s William Brangham and Danielle Muniz hard(ly) at work.

One of the best office views Need to Know’s William Brangham has ever had.

Need to Know in Palau 

One of the best office views Need to Know’s William Brangham has ever had.

Palau was the site of major battles between the United States and Japan during World War II, and wreckage from that war can still be found scattered all over the islands, like this engine from a U.S. fighter plane that’s just sitting on the beach.

Need to Know in Palau 

Palau was the site of major battles between the United States and Japan during World War II, and wreckage from that war can still be found scattered all over the islands, like this engine from a U.S. fighter plane that’s just sitting on the beach.

A local grocery store trumpets an $8.00 box of strawberries. Since Palau is hundreds of miles out in the middle of the Pacific, many of the country’s supplies are brought in by ship or plane, which jacks up costs all over the islands.

Need to Know in Palau 

A local grocery store trumpets an $8.00 box of strawberries. Since Palau is hundreds of miles out in the middle of the Pacific, many of the country’s supplies are brought in by ship or plane, which jacks up costs all over the islands.

Need to Know’s William Brangham stopping to get another shot in Palau.

Need to Know in Palau 

Need to Know’s William Brangham stopping to get another shot in Palau.

Houses built many years ago near the water, now sit in the water at high tide.  As beaches erode, storms increase, and sea level rises, the damage to low-lying nations like Palau will only increase.

Need to Know in Palau 

Houses built many years ago near the water, now sit in the water at high tide. As beaches erode, storms increase, and sea level rises, the damage to low-lying nations like Palau will only increase.

Palauan President Johnson Toribiong (left) and local chief Tomas Obak (center) describe to William Brangham how the beaches on Kayangel island -- one of the northernmost spots in Palau -- have been rapidly disappearing.

Need to Know in Palau 

Palauan President Johnson Toribiong (left) and local chief Tomas Obak (center) describe to William Brangham how the beaches on Kayangel island -- one of the northernmost spots in Palau -- have been rapidly disappearing.

Local Chief Tomas Obak owns one small island in Kayangel in northern Palau, and says he’s already lost a quarter of his land due to storms and sea-level rise.   Despite what they’ve seen, Obak and many other residents there believe that the presence of a sacred hibiscus tree on their land means their islands will never disappear below the ocean.

Need to Know in Palau 

Local Chief Tomas Obak owns one small island in Kayangel in northern Palau, and says he’s already lost a quarter of his land due to storms and sea-level rise. Despite what they’ve seen, Obak and many other residents there believe that the presence of a sacred hibiscus tree on their land means their islands will never disappear below the ocean.

The east coast of Palau’s largest island.  The white line on the horizon are small waves breaking on one of the many reefs that encircle Palau.

Need to Know in Palau 

The east coast of Palau’s largest island. The white line on the horizon are small waves breaking on one of the many reefs that encircle Palau.

 

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