Portal:Oceania

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Introduction

An orthographic projection of geopolitical Oceania

Oceania (UK: /ˌsiˈɑːniə, ˌʃi-, -ˈn-/, US: /ˌʃiˈæniə/ (About this soundlisten), /-ˈɑːn-/) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the eastern and western hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of 8,525,989 square kilometres (3,291,903 sq mi) and a population of 40 million. Situated in the southeast of the Asia-Pacific region, Oceania, when compared to continental regions, is the smallest in land area and the second smallest in population after Antarctica.

Definitions of Oceania vary; however, the islands at the geographic extremes of Oceania are generally considered to be the Bonin Islands, a politically integral part of Japan; Hawaii, a state of the United States; Clipperton Island, a possession of France; the Juan Fernández Islands, belonging to Chile; and Macquarie Island, belonging to Australia. (The United Nations has its own geopolitical definition of Oceania, but this consists of discrete political entities, and so excludes the Bonin Islands, Hawaii, Clipperton Island, and the Juan Fernández Islands, along with Easter Island.) Oceania has a diverse mix of economies from the highly developed and globally competitive financial markets of Australia and New Zealand, which rank high in quality of life and human development index, to the much less developed economies that belong to countries such as Kiribati and Tuvalu, while also including medium-sized economies of Pacific islands such as Palau, Fiji and Tonga. The largest and most populous country in Oceania is Australia, with Sydney being the largest city of both Oceania and Australia. In the 1950s Indonesia and Philippines were removed from Oceania and added to Asia; this resulted in Oceania as a "great division" of the world being replaced by the concept of the continent of Australia. In some countries (such as Brazil) however, Oceania is still regarded as a continent (Portuguese: continente) in the sense of "one of the parts of the world", and the concept of Australia as a continent does not exist.

Daily article

Palau boatyard on Malakal Island, Koror - August 1973.

The Republic of Palau is a borderless country in the Pacific Ocean, located some 500 km east of the Philippines. Having emerged from United Nations trusteeship (administered by the United States of America) in 1994, it is one of the world's youngest and least populated nations. It is sometimes referred to in English under its native name Belau.

Palau's most important islands are Angaur, Babeldaob, Koror, and Peleliu, which lie together within the same barrier reef. About two thirds of the population lives on Koror. The population is 20,303 (2005 est.). The capital is Koror, with the same name as the island.

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Selected article

Tropical Cyclone Percy strikes Swain’s Island on 27 February 2005.

Cyclone Percy was the seventh named storm of the 2004-05 South Pacific cyclone season and the fourth and final cyclone to form during the February 2005 outbreak in the South Pacific Ocean.

Percy was also the most damaging of the February cyclones as it battered the Cook Islands, which were still recovering from the impacts of Cyclones Meena, Nancy and Olaf. Percy then devastated the island of Tokelau, leaving many homeless and millions in dollars in property damages. Because of warnings in anticipation of the storm, there were no deaths and there were only a few injuries.

Relief efforts followed after Cyclone Percy. In Swains Island, a rescue plane dropped food and supplies. In Tokelau and northern Cook Islands, the governments of Australia and New Zealand offered over $200,000 dollars (2005 USD) in relief aid. In Tokelau, many of the local officials feared about contamination since the cyclone had scattered human waste, trash, and other debris in the ocean and across the island. There was also an increase of mosquitoes and other insects, increasing the threat of a dengue fever outbreak. In addition, the storm damaged many of the hospitals, making treatment of the injured or displaced difficult. In Nukunonu, the school, which was destroyed by Percy, was poorly built and vulnerable, and there was no early warning system. Also, many of the population had little time to prepare for the storm because of a social event held hours earlier.

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