Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2003/0147
OCHA Situation Report No. 2
Federated States of Micronesia - Typhoon Lupit
Occurred on 21-25 November 2003
This is based on a preliminary report from the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team which has been deployed to Yap State of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
1. On 21-25 November, Typhoon /tropical storm Lupit passed through Chuuk State and Yap State of FSM, increasing its strength. The typhoon began to impact the eastern part of Yap State on 23 November and continued to intensify as it travelled through the neighbouring islands. It was reported that its sustained winds were estimated at 194 km/h and its gusts at 240 km/h at one stage.
2. Thanks to early warning and preparedness measures by the Government, no injuries and casualties are reported as a direct result of the typhoon. However, strong winds and storm and tidal surge caused by the typhoon have impacted on communities in the low-lying areas of the neighbouring islands, particularly in the northern and western part of Yap State.
3. According to a preliminary assessment, the impacts of the typhoon are summarized as follows:
- Potable water supplies: Potable water supplies were contaminated by the storm surge. The most pressing need is the supply and distribution of potable water to the affected people in isolated islands.
- Risk of communicable diseases: The contamination of water supplies has resulted in reported outbreaks of communicable diseases in some affected communities.
- Agriculture: Food crops in all low-lying areas in north-eastern and southern outlying islands were almost totally destroyed. The damage seriously affects the life of the islands people who depend on crops as a major source of food.
- Public utilities and properties: Public facilities and properties, roads and seawalls were all impacted and sustained damage. Approximately 200 homes have been destroyed. There is an immediate need to provide shelter to these homeless victims. Power distribution has been disrupted throughout the State.
4. The acting Governor of Yap State has declared a state of emergency in the State, effective 30 days since 26 November and with special budgetary arrangements to support the Government's response to the emergency.
5. Teams dispatched by the Director Disaster Coordination in Yap State have undertaken preliminary damage assessments of the affected island communities in cooperation with the Government and the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Government patrol boat is being used for damage assessment in the outer islands and the areas of greatest remoteness as well as for medical retrieval of victims suffering from communicable diseases.
6. A further assessment and inspection of the outer islands is being arranged by the National Disaster Coordination and Management Committee. Given the difficulties and shortage of transport to these islands, the efforts of the Committee are significant. These assessment trips will occupy most of Friday 5 and Saturday 6 December, and will involve aerial reconnaissance and boat travel.
7. The government ship 'Micro Spirit', the major transportation resource available to the Government, has made its first delivery of relief items. In addition, a private airline has been assisting with water drops to the islands but these are only 40 % effective due to difficulties and access. Food and water supplies from Guam and elsewhere are due to arrive on Friday 5 December.
8. However, it was indicated that the government ship Micro Spirit, currently in Yap harbour, would not return to sea until repairs were made to the steering motor. The scheduled departure date of Sunday 7 December is likely to be delayed until Thursday 11 December at the earliest. This delay will have a significant impact on the distribution of relief items.
9. FEMA is preparing a preliminary report indicating infrastructure and relief requirements totalling USD 800,000.
10. Upon request from the Yap State of FSM, OCHA has deployed a three-member UNDAC Team to provide support to the Government with its damage and needs assessment. The team, currently in the Capital of Yap State, is in close contact with the Government, State Government and FEMA team. The On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) has been established within the Government National Coordination Centre.
11. OCHA is in contact with the relevant government authorities of FSM through the UNDAC team and the OCHA Regional Disaster Response Advisor for the Pacific in Suva, Fiji, and will revert with further information as it becomes available.
12. This situation report, together with information on other ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int
Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10
Mr. R. Muller / Mr. S. Nakajima
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 31 31 / 40 34
(in GVA) - Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(in N.Y.) - Mr. Brian Grogan, direct Tel. +1-212-963 11 43