29 Jun 2004

Typhoon TingTing kills three women in Marianas

3:20 pm on 29 June 2004

Three people have died and 200 others were evacuated from their homes as Typhoon TingTing hit the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas.

300 people also sought emergency shelter on neighbouring Guam as the typhoon brought torrential rain, causing severe flooding in both countries.

The three women were swept to their deaths after they were caught by huge surf although winds were lighter than expected at 100 kilometres per hour.

The acting director for the Northern Mariana Islands Emergency Management Office, Mark Pangelinan, says it's only now that emergency workers can make initial damage assessments.

"It caused a lot of trees to fall. There was reported telephone poles down, power lines down, transformer explosions. Right now they are trying to restore our utilities. Right now, the power to our building is temporarily down. Water is OK. We're going to be having a meeting just to brief the various departments and once we do the briefing, we'll be sending out teams to do the preliminary damage assessment."

The deputy director of the Northern Mariana Islands emergency management office, Mark Pangelinan.

41 centimetres of rain is reported to have fallen in 24 hours - the most since records began 47 years ago.

TingTing is now about north east of the Northern Marianas, heading towards Japan.