Typhoon Leaves Hundreds Homeless In Saipan -Updated

August 5, 2015

  Video of Saipan Typhoon Soudelor Damage from YouTube by Sveta Hunter

The U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) was left in a state of devastation by Typhoon Soudelor that passed directly over the island of Saipan. After four days people are still without water power and adequate fuel. The Guam National Guard, the Guam Power Authority, Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 and the Coast Guard are reportedly providing assistance. FEMA was still waiting for the official CNMI Government request for emergency help before it could start distributing food, water and supplies.

Typhoon Soudelor left hundreds of people homeless or living in damaged homes on Saipan and in Tinian.  On Saipan about 500 individuals are living in schools and the Kagman Community Center, which are serving as shelters. The American Red Cross is providing meals and emergency needs.  The Salvation Army was also serving food at Hopwood Jr. High.

It was also reported that people with damaged houses are sleeping in cars and make-shift shelters.

A CUC press release states, "No timetable exists for the complete restoration of essential services in Saipan; however, customers should prepare for an extended power and water outage." The power plant was damaged and many power poles are downed. Trees blocking roadways make it more difficult to restore power. The island's only hospital is operating with generators.

Water stations have been set up on Saipan at Capitol Hill, Agag Reservoir and Kanat  Tabla. There is a 100 gallon limit per household per day. This is water for showers, toilets and to be boiled to wash dishes. It is not for consumption. Bleach should be added to the water for purification.

Gas lines continue to be long and gas and diesel fuel is being rationed at some stations. Fuel spills at the port of Saipan and shipping containers that were tossed about by waves still need to be cleaned up.

Damage at the Port of Saipan – U.S. Coast Guard photo.
Some daytime flights have been restored. There are no nighttime flights. Flights from some Chinese tourist cities have been suspended until August 15th.  There has been little news on the status of the tourists on the island.

My heart goes out to all of the people of Saipan and Tinian who were impacted by the typhoon. It is especially difficult for the nonresident workers who do not have family members in the CNMI to take them in or offer assistance. Nonresidents do not qualify for federal assistance programs such as food stamps, Medicaid or federal welfare programs, so they are especially vulnerable.

Some foreign workers cannot work because their employer's business was damaged or closed so they are also are suffering financial losses. If the business cannot reopen, the nonresident worker could also lose his/her immigration status.

Where is the news on the status of the situation on Tinian?
Hawaiians are collecting donations to the Hawaiian Salvation Army to open a soup kitchen in Saipan.  Donations can be made to the Red Cross and earmarked for Typhoon Soudelor victims.
August 6, 2015

President Obama finally declared the CNMI a major disaster. 
Victims can apply for disater assistance at WWW.DISASTERASSISTANCE.GOV OR APPLY THROUGH THE APP AT W.FEMA.GOV OR CALL A 24/7 TOLL FREE NUMBER 1-800-621-3362.

The U.S.S. Ashland filled with water, food, generators and supplies is set to arrive Friday from Guam. The marines on the ship will be helping with recovery.

The Multi-Purpose Center is serving as recovery center. If you have no transportation please call 644-COTA.

You can follow updates on the homepage of  U.S. Congressman Gregorio (Kilili) Sablan (CNMI-D) and on the Department of Energy website.


Anonymous said...

What, it takes a typhoon? The U.S. Government should have declared Saipan a disaster area years ago (no storm was necessary).