Super typhoon Yutu wreaks havoc on Northern Mariana Islands, one dead
Honolulu (US), Oct 26: Residents of the Northern Mariana Islands braced Friday for months without electricity or running water after the strongest storm to hit any part of the United States this year devastated the US territory, killing one person, officials said.
Even after Super Typhoon Yutu had moved away from the Pacific islands, emergency management officials warned residents to stay indoors because downed power lines blocked roadways and winds were still strong enough to make driving dangerous.
A 44-year-old woman taking shelter in an abandoned building died when it collapsed in the storm, a post on the governor's office Facebook page said.
Officials couldn't immediately be reached for additional details. The territory will need significant help to recover from the storm that injured several people, said Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, the territory's delegate to Congress.
He said Thursday that there were reports of injuries and that people were waiting to be treated at a hospital on the territory's largest and most populated island, Saipan. He could not provide further details or official estimates of casualties.
"There's a lot of damage and destruction," Sablan said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Saipan. "It's like a small war just passed through."
The islands' emergency management agency was "deploying resources to clear our roadways so first responders can begin assisting residents who have lost their homes and for those who need transport to seek medical attention or transportation to the nearest shelter," spokeswoman Nadine Deleon Guerrero said in a statement.
Sablan said has not been able to reach officials on the islands of Tinian and Rota because phones and power are out. "It's going to take weeks probably to get electricity back to everybody," he said.
The two islands will be unrecognizable, said Brandon Aydlett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The agency received reports that catastrophic winds ripped roofs from homes and blew out windows. "Any debris becomes shrapnel and deadly," he said.
The electricity on Saipan about 6,115 kilometers west of Hawaii went out at 4 pm (local time) Wednesday, resident Glen Hunter said. Maximum sustained winds of 290 kph were recorded around the eye of the storm, which passed over Tinian and Saipan early Thursday local time, the weather service said.