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Maysak slams Yap; power restored in Chuuk, regular flights resume

HAGÅTÑA — Super Typhoon Maysak ripped through the Yap islands Tuesday night, destroying houses and vegetation, but as of Wednesday evening no deaths or injuries were reported as a result of the storm, according to reports from radio operators in Yap.

Pacific Maritime Association Pacific Administrator Melinda Espinosa said pilot Amos Collins reported that most concrete structures in Ulithi atoll withstood Maysak’s fury but everything else was damaged.

“The island has been hit pretty hard. Solar panels donated by (the European Union) are also damaged. Because Ulithi is just a little above sea level, in some areas the sea rose, destroying crops and the soil. It will take time to desalinate the soil — approximately a year until the crops can be re-planted,” Espinosa said in a mass email.

The runway in Yap was cleared so Collins will be able to fly today, Espinosa said. Collins told Espinosa there is an immediate need for rice.

Manny Hechanova, assistant director of Telecommunication and Distance Education Operations at the University of Guam, spoke with a radio reporter on Woleai, an atoll in the eastern jurisdiction of Yap, early yesterday morning.

As for Ulithi atoll, Hechanova said a radio operator on the island of Mogmog was able to relay conditions yesterday and told Hechanova that many houses were damaged and there were a lot of downed trees. No injuries or deaths were reported from the operator on Mogmog.

The Woleai radio operator said Fais island is ok and all persons there were accounted for. Espinosa said Fais did not experience sea levels as high as those in Ulithi, but the island still sustained significant damage.

Maysak’s winds topped 150 mph and gusted to above 160 mph on Ulithi, Hechanova said and the most damaging winds occurred during the eye passage, according to the Mogmog radio operator report.

The operator also said residents were able to protect their water supply and only a few containers were spoiled by salt water. He said he tried to reach the islands of Asor and Falalop but was unsuccessful yesterday.

Hechanova said radio operators dismantled antennas prior to the typhoon’s arrival to protect them from damage. Some batteries were also used during the storm and would need to be recharged through the use of solar panels, which is why communication would take some time, he also said.

“Extensive roof damage may also prevent some islands from getting their antennas back up,” Hechanova said.

In Chuuk, power was restored yesterday to several government buildings in Weno, the main island. Officials from the Federated States of Micronesia Consulate Office said the hospital, court and post office had power yesterday.

Six vessels at the Chuuk port sunk because of Typhoon Maysak and at least one of those boats was a tourist vessel.

Four confirmed deaths were reported by the Chuuk governor’s chief of staff to the FSM Consulate office. Three adults and one child died as a result of the typhoon, the FSM Consulate office said.

United Airline flights began yesterday and residents continued to remove debris so that roadways can be accessed. Chuuk state and the FSM national government are still sifting through wreckage, assessing the damage. As soon as it is safe enough, Consulate officials said boats will be sent to Yap for more assessment.

The last local statement from the National Weather Service issued yesterday placed Maysak well west of Yap and Guam with sustained winds of 160 mph. Forecasters advised against inter-island travel over the next several days as seas are still dangerous.

Gov. Eddie Calvo sent letters to FSM leadership in light of the state of emergency in Chuuk and Yap, extending his assistance. Calvo said winds in Ulithi were about 130 mph and winds in Fais reached 100 mph.