9 Dec 2002

Super Typhoon continues along its destructive path in Micronesia

5:16 pm on 9 December 2002

The super typhoon, Pongsona, has torn apart crops and coral reefs in parts of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas today, a day after sweeping destructively through nearby Guam.

The news agency AFP reports that Guam today appealed to US President George W Bush for emergency assistance.

The CNMI Acting Governor Paul Manglona has appealed for people to keep under cover and says Pongsona is "a very powerful typhoon".

All air and sea traffic in the area has been cancelled.

Authorities say homes on Rota and Tinian in the CNMI have been destroyed and people had taken refuge in emergency shelters but there had been no reports of injuries.

The Guam Governor Carl Gutierrez today sent an appeal for help to Bush after Pongsana caused major damage on the island over the weekend.

He says it is obvious that Pongsona has caused significant damage to Guam's infrastructure, power, water and wastewater systems and that it is beyond the island's ability to recover from without federal assistance.

Pongsona, which was designated a super typhoon yesterday(sunday), hit Guam with sustained winds of 241 kilometres per hour gusting up to 296 kilometres per hour.

A fuel storage facility exploded as a result of the typhoon, although eight men who were initially reported as missing from the site have now been located.

Pongsona is the second super typhoon this year and follows July's Chata'an storm that killed 40 people in neighbouring Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia and went on to kill others in the Philippines and South Korea.