Thousands displaced in FSM by typhoon
Thousands have been displaced in the Federated States of Micronesia after supertyphoon Maysak tore through the states of Chuuk and Yap this week.
Thousands of people have been left displaced in the Federated States of Micronesia after the category five supertyphoon Maysak tore through the states of Chuuk and Yap this week.
At least five people have died, crops and infrastructure have been destroyed, and water supplies contaminated.
The Red Cross in the country says the destruction is so widespread the humanitarian response will be a significant logistical challenge.
Jamie Tahana reports.
Maysak developed into a typhoon last weekend as it entered the state of Chuuk, with the eye of it sweeping over the state capital, Weno. It continued to build intensity until it became a category five supertyphoon by the time it entered neighbouring Yap state. At least five people died in Chuuk, and the head of the Red Cross in the FSM, Isao Frank, says 60 to 80 percent of homes on Weno have been destroyed, leaving up to 6,000 people displaced.
ISAO FRANK: They're estimating that around -- this is in Chuuk -- that around 830 dwellings have been destroyed and we're looking at around 6,000 folks being displaced just from their situation reports.
Isao Frank says evacuation centres that have been set up in schools and churches are overcrowded, and people are awaiting the arrival of government ships carrying relief supplies. In Yap, the atolls of Fais, Ulithi and Faraulep sustained a direct hit from the typhoon at its full strength, with winds of well over 200 kilometres an hour. The state's lieutenant governor, James Yangetmai, says assessment flights have revealed massive destruction, but no fatalities in the state. Mr Yangetmai says crops have been wiped out, water supplies contaminated, and all buildings except those built from concrete have been wiped out.
JAMES YANGETMAI: The only remaining are those that were built of concrete, which are very few of them. On one island they reported that only four structures were built of concrete and even with that, their roof flew off.
James Yangetmai says there is an urgent need for shelter, food and water for the atolls' residents. Isao Frank says the destruction caused by typhoon Maysak is so widespread and covers such a distance that the humanitarian response will be a significant logistical challenge.
ISAO FRANK: We're scrambling around like everyone else, you know, it's such a scale that even ourselves are not prepared to handle it on our own and we'll need international support from everyone. Right now we need additional relief supplies to support folks who are calling in and telling us that their islands have been devastated.
Andrew Yatilman, says government patrol boats carrying water, food and other relief supplies have been deployed from Pohnpei to Yap and Chuuk and are expected to arrive this weekend. He says the President, Manny Mori, has requested international assistance from the United Nations and the government is hoping to receive significant assistance from the United States under the Compact of Free Association between the two countries. Mr Yatilman says with the scale of devastation, it could take years to rebuild infrastructure and return to a stable food supply.
ANDREW YATILMAN: The major staple crops for these people are breadfruit and taro and banana. Bananas tend to grow quicker, but for breadfruit, it's going to take another five to ten years before they start fruiting again and for taro it's the same thing. It take four to five years to mature. That is really going to pose a huge problem.
Further assessments and aid deployments will take place this weekend.
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