Homes and infrastructure on Saipan in the Northern Marianas have suffered severe damage after the island took the brunt of Typhoon Soudelor on Sunday night.
CNMI's Saipan gets brunt of typhoon
Homes, vegetation and infrastructure on Saipan in the Northern Marianas have suffered severe damage after the island took the brunt of Typhoon Soudelor on Sunday night.
The storm sustained winds of 170 kilometres per hour when it hit Saipan but weather officials say they could reach 266 kilometres an hour by Wednesday.
Our Correspondent Mark Rabago spoke to Indira Moala about the damage.
MARK RABAGO: It's utter devastation. All the trees are bent like toothpicks. Houses with thin roofs and light materials - they're gone. Everybody's in shock right now. This is the worst Typhoon I've experienced in my 15 years living here on Saipan.
INDIRA MOALA: Are there any casualties? Are any people injured or missing at this stage?
MR: We don't know yet but I myself got injured when the glass in our window exploded because of the strength of the Typhoon. So I have got some cuts and some of my neighbours in our apartment also have some cuts. So I can just imagine people who have downed houses what injuries they have.
IM: Are there any disaster authorities out there at this stage providing relief assistance or medical assistance?
MR: There are some police, there are some Department of Public Works people. This totally caught us by surprise. We didn't expect this to happen.
IM: And is it over? What are the weather conditions now? Has it died down?
MR: It's better but there's still some light rain and there's still some strong wind. But yesterday I think we really hit the centre of the storm. Saipan really took the brunt. It's unbelievable here. Everywhere I go it's like "My God, my God, my God...". There are cars who literally have shattered windows, downed power pole lines and trees. Century-old trees that are down.
IM: And in terms of houses that are still standing, what's the damage to infrastructure and homes?
MR: Well, homes that are made up of light materials, as I said, are destroyed. Even some department stores - their windows, their roofs, are all gone. So it's a massive, massive disaster. Probably, this is the worst.
IM: Would you say that so far from what you've seen on the island, is it the majority of infrastructure and homes that have been damaged by the Typhoon?
MR: Yes, yes. Those made of concrete were okay but their windows are shattered. Especially those facing North. People are now trying to buy gas, there's a long line of cars waiting to be gassed up. I don't know if there are department stores or groceries that are open. But people are just shock right now, trying to pick up the pieces of their homes, their cars and whatever.
IM: And in terms of those whose homes have been damaged, are they seeking shelter anywhere? Are there any refuge shelters?
MR: Yes, there are some refuge shelters. Usually the schools, that's their evacuation centre.
IM: And is there anything else you'd like to add?
MR: Just pray for us, I hope we could get some help here. Everyone - nobody is spared from this.
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