5 Aug 2015

Saipan residents shocked by devastation of Typhoon

2:11 pm on 5 August 2015
Damage on Saipan in CNMI from Typhoon Soudelor

Damage in CNMI from Typhoon Soudelor Photo: Facebook

The Red Cross in the Northern Marianas says around 545 people on the main island of Saipan are in shelters, after Typhoon Soudelor battered the territory on Sunday.

The typhoon's sustained winds of around 170 kilometres an hour damaged homes and infrastructure, and caused a significant oil spill at the port.

The aiport remains closed and many residents without power, and face shortages of clean water, food and fuel.

The Red Cross' Executive Director John Hirsh says nobody was prepared for Soudelor's impact.

"Everyone is really shell-shocked here. This is really the fourth storm we've had in the last eight weeks. So people have been kind of thinking it was going to be just another small typhoon, it's not going to impact us very heavily. But people were very wrong about that. It really caused just widespread devastation."

A state of emergency was declared for the Northern Marianas on Monday.