State of emergency in CNMI after typhoon

6:25 pm on 3 August 2015
Initial damage from Typhoon Soudelor in Saipan

Initial damage from Typhoon Soudelor in Saipan Photo: Mark Rabago

A state of emergency has been declared for the Northern Marianas a day after Typhoon Soudelor hammered Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and the northern islands.

It had winds of up to 170 kilometres an hour at its centre.

Forecasters say it is intensifying but is now out to sea.

The acting governor Ralph Torres declared a State of Major Disaster and Significant Emergency for the whole Commonwealth after Soudelor battered the islands through Sunday night.

Many trees and houses built of light materials were destroyed by the powerful winds, and more solid concrete buildings lost roofs and windows.

A number of power poles were also downed, some falling on vehicles.

At the local hospital, healthcare staff said they've been treating patients with cuts and bruises since early Monday morning.

The Commonwealth Utilities Corporation says collapsed power poles and wires mean the island has no power, water or wastewater services.

It says fallen trees and power poles blocking many roads are hampering their recovery and assessment efforts.

The Corporation says there are also issues with power generation with one of the key power plants out of action.