Typhoon hit Northern Marianas postpones elections

1:14 pm on 30 October 2018
Damage by Yutu

Damage by Yutu Photo: Mark Rabago

The Northern Marianas has postponed its elections by a week, as the territory reels from Typhoon Yutu.

The category five storm devastated the islands of Tinian and Saipan with winds exceeding 350km/h.

Like much of the United States, the territory was to vote in midterms on 6 November.

But Governor Ralph Torres yesterday signed an executive order postponing polling day to 13 November.

Caused by Super Typhoon Yutu

Caused by Super Typhoon Yutu Photo: Mark Rabago

Mr Torres said the instability of the election commission, damage to infrastructure, and the need to concentrate on providing relief in the wake of the storm were the reasons for the delay.

Meanwhile, the scale of damage six days after Typhoon Yutu is slowly becoming more clear.

Authorities have confirmed the death of a 44-year-old woman, who died when a building collapsed on top of her during the typhoon.

Power remains largely out in the territory, as the clean-up gains pace, while many buildings have been destroyed or badly damaged

Our correspondent on Saipan, Mark Rabago, said up to a thousand people were taking up temporary shelter around the island.

Damage caused by Super Typhoon Yutu

Damage caused by Super Typhoon Yutu Photo: Mark Rabago

He said authorities were only just beginning to learn of the impact on the less populated Tinian, but early reports were grim.

"Like 80 percent of its homes are lost, they don't have water, they don't have power. They're having really big trouble trying to reach inaccessible points of the island that were isolated because of the typhoon."

Mark Rabago said 133 people were reported to have been treated at the Commonwealth Health Centre for injuries from the typhoon.

[audio-play] https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/2018668827/northern-marianas-takes-stock-of-typhoon-damage Listen to more on Dateline Pacific

The territory embarked on a significant clean-up campaign at the weekend, for which authorities and military forces have helped provide materials and tools.

But Mr Rabago said that as the extent of the destruction caused by Yutu became more evident.

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