State of emergency in storm-ravaged Marianas
HAGATNA, USA – A state of emergency has been declared in the Northern Marianas after Super Typhoon Soudelor, with winds up to 120 miles per hour (193 km/h) slammed into the island group leaving a trail of destruction.
Soudelor was Tuesday, August 4, centered over open waters in the western Pacific and tracking towards Japan's southwestern Ryuku Islands as well as Taiwan and eastern China.
Nearly 400 people were packed in emergency shelters in the Northern Marianas after the powerful storm ripped roofs off houses and left residents without power, water and wastewater services. There were no deaths reported.
Acting governor Ralph Torres declared a "state of major disaster and significant emergency for the whole commonwealth in the wake of the devastation caused by Typhoon Soudelor".
Residents have been urged to stay indoors and Torres issued a price freeze order to prevent traders ramping up the price of essential goods and services.
"I’ve seen multiple primary power poles down; I’ve seen cars flipped over the road; I’ve seen lots of torn roofs," John Hirsh, executive director of the American Red Cross in Saipan, told Pacific Daily News.
Damage is "extensive" across the island and there has been significant damage to public infrastructure, he said.
In Hagatna, on neighboring Guam, the weather service said winds had increased to 155 mi/h as Soudelor moved out to sea and would further intensify.
Boats were warned to stay away from exposed reefs and beaches because of "hazardous surf" and "life threatening" rip currents. – Rappler.com