August 3, 2015
Soudelor is expected to become a super typhoon before it moves towards Japan's southwestern islands late this week. Soudelor is a Pohnpeian word meaning "chief" or "ruler."
Acting Governor Ralph Torres declared the islands in a "state of major disaster and significant emergency." FEMA sent an advance team and they are assessing the damage. It is likely that a federal state of disaster will be declared. Residents are urged to take photos of damage before they begin to clean-up.
On Saipan the main power plant was flooded and part of the roof was torn off. There is no power on the island. Over 100 power poles were downed. Water is also unavailable as electricity is needed for pumps.
The Coast Guard reported that flying debris broke a 120,000 gallon fuel storage tank and thousands of gallons of gasoline poured into a containment area. Another spill resulted in 500 gallons of diesel fuel spilling into the port of Saipan. Two large fishing ships and a charter boat came loose from their moorings and ran aground in Tanapag.
The seaport and airport are shut down. Residents are urged to stay off the roads.
Some roads are impassable, blocked by downed trees. Roofs were torn from buildings and cars were flipped upside down. At least 60 people received treatment at the hospital for minor injuries. According to news reports about 400 people are in shelters after losing their houses from the storm. Some people waited over 3 hours for fuel for generators at gas stations.
A friend from Tinian said in an email that the typhoon caused extensive damage with trees downed and damage to buildings. There is no power and water on the island.
Guam's Lt. Governor is organizing two boot drives to assist typhoon victims. Donations can be made to the Red Cross and earmarked for Typhoon Soudelor victims.
More stories and photos of damage: