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Disaster center to open in storm-ravaged Saipan

August 12, 2015

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (AP) — A multi-agency disaster recovery center is set to open on Saipan, about 10 days after a typhoon devastated the most populated island of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The island in the U.S. territory remains without electricity, but Guam newspaper Pacific Daily News (http://ow.ly/QM5JR ) reported that water service has been restored to some villages.

The disaster center is set to open Wednesday with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Red Cross and other relief agencies.

Typhoon Soudelor struck Saipan with more than 100 mph winds, tearing tin homes off foundations, flooding houses that withstood winds, uprooting trees and snapping wooden utility poles.

There are still no reports of deaths or serious injury, but some worry that could change.

“We’re going to start having people get ill, get sick,” Saipan resident Glen Hunter told The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, a tropical storm is forecast to pass near Pagan, about 160 miles north of Saipan, the National Weather Service said. It’s too early to tell how it could impact the Marianas, forecasters said.

As Saipan residents cope with the storm’s aftermath, some businesses are reopening. There were players at gambling tables and slot machines at Best Sunshine casino Tuesday.

Saipan is about 3,800 miles southwest of Hawaii, which is bracing for Hurricane Hilda to lose steam and become a tropical storm before it arrives. The eye of the storm is expected to reach Hawaii’s Big Island on Thursday.

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Information from the Pacific Daily News: http://pacificdailynews.com

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