N. Mar­i­anas still with­out power af­ter ty­phoon

The Bradenton Herald (Sunday) - - Nation & World - BY JEN­NIFER SINCO KELLEHER AND AU­DREY MCAVOY

Many peo­ple in a U.S. Pa­cific ter­ri­tory rav­aged by a deadly su­per ty­phoon lost ev­ery­thing, but res­i­dents say they are re­silient and must fo­cus on the long re­cov­ery ahead.

The U.S. gov­ern­ment is send­ing sup­plies to the North­ern Mar­i­anas as res­i­dents dig through crum­bled houses, smashed cars and fallen util­ity poles af­ter Su­per Ty­phoon Yutu struck Thurs­day as a Cat­e­gory 5 storm.

“The re­build­ing of this is­land is be­gin­ning al­ready as time waits for no­body,” Jan Reyes, who lives on the ter­ri­tory’s most pop­u­lated is­land of Saipan, wrote in an email to The As­so­ci­ated Press. “De­spite the ca­su­al­ties, we the peo­ple of the Com­mon­wealth of the North­ern Mar­i­ana Is­lands are re­silient peo­ple.”

To help the re­cov­ery, mil­i­tary planes brought in food, wa­ter, tarps and other sup­plies.

U.S. Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency spokesman David Gervino said the agency is fo­cused on help­ing re­store power, open­ing sea and air ports, and en­sur­ing cell­phone tow­ers can op­er­ate on emer­gency power un­til elec­tric­ity re­turns.

Su­per Ty­phoon Yutu packed max­i­mum sus­tained winds of 180 mph as it passed over the is­lands of Tinian and Saipan, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice said. By Satur­day, power was still out across Saipan, with 50,000 res­i­dents, and Tinian, with 3,000 peo­ple.

The strong­est storm to hit any part of the United States this year over­turned cars, crushed small planes, ripped off roofs and killed a woman who took shel­ter in an aban­doned build­ing that col­lapsed. Oth­ers were in­jured, in­clud­ing three peo­ple who needed surgery.

Many homes were de­stroyed be­cause some fam­i­lies can’t af­ford con­crete homes that con­form to build­ing codes meant to with­stand ty­phoon winds, said Ed­win Propst, a mem­ber of the ter­ri­tory’s House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Some peo­ple build houses with con­crete foun­da­tions and walls but the struc­tures have wooden or tin roofs.

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