Devastated and fear-stricken residents in storm-wrecked areas of Micronesia pleaded for help Thursday as clean up activities began on the worst affected islands after Super Typhoon Maysak swept through the region on its way towards the Philippines.
Courtney Stinnett at the Truk Stop Hotel dive shop on the main island of Weno in Chuuk state, told the AFP, “We can do just anything with all the help we can get.”
Chuuk, being the largest region in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) where five people were killed and houses as well as crops were destroyed by Maysak, has been declared under a state of emergency.
While it only took three days for the super typhoon to inflict destruction and to cross the central Pacific archipelago before heading out to sea towards the Philippines, relief workers expressed that it could take a year to restore some lands so that they would be suitable to be planted with crops again.
Stinnett narrated saying, “The storm ripped the iron roofs off houses. About 95 percent of the homes were damaged,” adding that, “residents were gathering scattered iron sheets hastily just to make their wrecked homes rainproof. There were also fallen trees that blocked the roads making them unpassable.”
An aircraft was sent by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) to survey the extent of the damage in Ulithi atoll which was severely hit when the eye of the storm which passed over it on Tuesday night with sustained winds of up to 260 kilometres per hour (160 mph).
In an email, PMA Pacific administrator Melinda Espinosa said that most of the concrete structures withstood the typhoon’s wrath but everything else was in total devastation.
Stinnett added that in Chuuk, they were reliant on ships to bring in relief supplies but they might also be diverted first to the many small islands where residents lost their boats and had no way of going for help.
Meanwhile, on neighboring Guam, the Bank of Guam and the Ayuda Foundation have joined together to prepare medical packages which will either be air dropped or delivered by boat to the worst hit islands.
Bank of Guam President Lou Leon Guerrero said: “We were saddened when we learned about the deaths and the devastation brought by the typhoon to our neighboring islands and so we are extending our support for a speedy recovery.”
The Guam weather office said the maximum sustained winds of Maysak has gone down to 140 miles per hour by Thursday and it would continue to weaken before hitting the Philippines during the weekend.
The typhoon is expected to hit northern Philippines late Saturday or early Sunday as millions of Filipinos enjoy the Easter weekend holiday. It shall be named, “Chedeng” once it enters PAR (Philippine Area of Responsibility).