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Little damage from typhoon to Marianas islands

October 7, 2014

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — There was little damage on U.S. flagged islands in the Marianas after Typhoon Vongfong came through the area earlier this week.

Government officials in Guam, Saipan, Rota, and Tinian report minor storm damage from the typhoon, which had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph as it moved through the islands early Monday.

Ivan Blanco, a spokesman for the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas in Saipan, said the storm skirted over Saipan. One building had its tin roof blown off.

Exploding transformers and fallen trees also triggered power outages, but power was restored to most of the island hours later, he said. There are areas that are still without water.

Officials said 180 residents sought emergency shelter.

He said the island took immediate action to prepare for the storm after the governor issued a declaration of emergency. Federal Emergency Management Agency and Coast Guard officials were in Saipan to help advise the government.

Rota Mayor Melchor Mendiola said his island was safe from Typhoon Vongfong, but that the island experienced power outages from blown transformers and insulators during the storm. Power had been restored completely by Tuesday.

“With the with wind velocity, water came into buildings, but there was no flooding,” he said.

There were some structural damages to buildings with tin roofs. There were no injuries, he said.

Officials were working to clear access to secondary roads and farmlands after primary roads were cleared of debris.

Mendiola said some farmers reported damages to their taro plants, as well as other delicate crops including watermelons. About a dozen people sought emergency shelter in a public school.

Mayor Ramón M. Dela Cruz said there was very little damage to Tinian and no injuries.

The damage assessment process continues in Guam, Jenna Gaminde, a spokeswoman for Guam Homeland Security and Office of Civil Defense, said in an email to The Associated Press.

She said there were no injuries from the storm.

FEMA’s Incident Management Assistance Team is on Guam, assisting the government after President Barack Obama last month declared the island a federal disaster area because of Typhoon Halong that struck the island in July.

The mayor of Guam’s northernmost village, Yigo, said there were many down trees in his area. One tree fell on a resident’s car, and two big trees fell on a house, Mayor Rudy Matanane said.

That process was about complete Tuesday, he said.

His office helped evacuate a family of 13 during the height of the storm early Monday morning.

He advised people to be more responsible. “They should know if their home is not feasible enough to stand typhoon” and to seek shelter before the storm hits.

He’s waiting to hear from farmers who might have crop damage as a result of the winds, but so far he hasn’t received any complaints, he said.

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