This image taken on 31 March 2015 shows Typhoon Maysak taken by astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti from the International Space Station. The Pacific Daily News newspaper in Guam reports the storm was upgraded Tuesday to a super typhoon with winds of 150 mph and was moving west-northwest at 15 mph. Officials say super Typhoon Maysak is expected to significantly weaken before reaching the Philippines around Sunday. Photo: Samantha Cristoforetti / NASA / AP Photo

Hagatna (Guam), 1 April 2015 (AFP) – Residents of the Micronesian State of Chuuk were struggling to clear the roads of huge pieces of debris and return to damaged homes Wednesday as Super Typhoon Maysak cut a destructive path across the central Pacific leaving at least five dead.

Crops were ruined and water supplies contaminated, with fears people faced starvation if they did not receive aid soon, after the violent storm took three days to cross the vast Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

"Governor Johnson Elimo declared a state of emergency (in Chuuk) due to damage by Typhoon Maysak, including five deaths," FSM President Manny Mori said in a statement, indicating foreign aid would be needed to support relief efforts.

He did not specify where the deaths occurred, but earlier reports said five people were killed on Chuuk.

There was extensive damage to "schools, health facilities, public utilities, private residences", he said, as well as "the sinking of several fishing, passenger and dive ships."

Hiroyuki Mori said he spent the day trying to clear the roads with other residents using chainsaws, adding that many families abandoned their homes and sought refuge in more solid structures including local hotels as Maysak pounded the archipelago.

"There were debris everywhere," the 27-year-old told AFP from Weno Island, which is part of Chuuk.

Maysak is forecast to remain a super typhoon "through to early Friday morning," meteorologists in Guam, 1,000 kilometres away, said in a bulletin Wednesday afternoon for FSM.

Many residents of the islands hit by the storm were now trying to return home to begin clearing the damage and rebuilding.

Officials said some houses were blown off their platforms, while other areas saw fruit trees destroyed.

"The immediate need is food, water, and clothing," Manny Hechanova, associate director at the University of Guam Telecommunication and Distance Education Operation, told the Pacific Daily News in Guam.

"These islands are on their own, with limited food supplies. They may have to wait for three to five days and they may not be ready to wait that long. Starvation is a real possibility."

Weno Island resident Mori said locals had up to a week of food, noting that "many of our food producing plants are destroyed".

"We have a high supply of food right now because of the storm," he said.

"But they'll be spoiled soon. I give the food about a week. Or less maybe." [more]

State of emergency as super typhoon batters Micronesia


By Grace Garces Bordallo
1 April 2015

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) – A super typhoon blamed for the deaths of at least four people on islands in the western Pacific Ocean has moved into the open sea and is expected to significantly weaken before reaching the Philippines later this weekend.

Paul Stanko of the National Weather Service said super Typhoon Maysak packed winds of 160 kilometers per hour (100 mph) when it passed north of the Yap State atolls of Ulithi and Fais in the Federated States of Micronesia early Wednesday. There have been no reports of casualties in Yap.

"When the typhoon passed this morning winds were still strong for people to go out and government officials to conduct assessments," Andrew Yatilman, director of Yap State Office of Environment and Emergency Management, told The Associated Press by telephone.

Wilfred Robert, the chief of staff for the Chuuk State governor, and member of the Chuuk Emergency Coordinating Central Committee, said four deaths, a child and three adults, were reported.

Robert said damage was still being assessed by boat in lagoon islands.

"Many breadfruit and mango trees were down, fallen," Robert said. "Even taro patches, which are the main source of food, is in danger."

Robert predicted that food could run out by Friday for many islanders in the lagoon islands.

The typhoon, which was upgraded to a super typhoon Tuesday afternoon when it passed Yap, moved into the open sea and is headed toward the Philippines.

In Manila, the weather bureau reported that Maysak's sustained winds weakened Wednesday from 215 kph (134 mph) to 190 kph (118 mph) and could still weaken as it approaches the country's eastern coast. The typhoon, currently with gusts of nearly 140 mph was still 1,165 kilometers (723 miles) away from the eastern Philippines and may still be dangerously powerful when it hits land, likely on Saturday or Sunday if it doesn't change course, Filipino forecasters said. [more]

Super typhoon expected to weaken before reaching Philippines

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