Palikir, POHNPEI (FSM Information Services): April 16, 2004 - President Joseph J. Urusemal is on Yap for a consultation meeting with the State's leadership in the wake of Typhoon Sudal's destruction during the Easter weekend.
President Urusemal had notified Governor Robert Ruechó of his intent to meet with the leadership to help "facilitate survey assessment and immediate mitigation and recovery activities as may be needed" for coordination of short and long term relief programs.
The initial consultation meeting is also anticipated to provide the President with the state leadership's expectations of the national government's coordination role in emergency assistance to the State of Yap.
Typhoon Sudal hit Yap during the Easter weekend packing 132 mph winds and waves of more than 35 feet. The typhoon destroyed over 90% of Yap's infrastructure, utilities, public and private properties, food crops and coastline areas.
In ruins, a State of Emergency has been declared for Yap. The Government of the FSM along with the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have begun relief efforts to the Yap.
Assistance from the U.S. disaster program is spelled out in the subsidiary agreements to the amended Compact signed in February of this year between the governments of the FSM and the US. While talks of the service agreements continue, under the status quo, the US disaster program will be available to the FSM until 16 December 2008.
The FSM government has established a Typhoon Sudal relief fund and welcomes donations of goods and supplies at the FSM Disaster Office in Palikir. The National Fisheries Corporation (NFC) had offered to deliver free of charge, relief supplies and goods to Yap. For immediate relief, the Micronesian Red Cross Society indicated that it is only accepting financial assistance at this time.
The neighboring Guam and Common Wealth of the Northern Marianas are coordinating and facilitating FEMA assistance along with donations from various organizations and foundations in the region.
Updates from Yap report the following developments:
1. Water: the State's one water treatment plant in Rull although fully operational, is only available to those with water containers due to damaged connecting water mains.
2. Electricity: the State's one diesel-fired power station has been repaired, but the downed power-lines leaves over 85% of the island still without power.
3. Bridges, Roads and Airport:
- all bridges on island are open to traffic.
- Preliminary reports from the municipalities indicate public roads are 80% open, while secondary roads within the villages are still being cleared.
- the airport is open for flights
Health and Medical: the state's one hospital is fully operational with power and water servicing a population of over 7,000. Approximately 20 shelters have been opened housing close to 2000 displaced islanders.
5. Hazardous materials: most of the ships in Tomil harbor were sunk releasing a large amount of fuel oil into the lagoon. Without any running water, the islanders have tried bathing in the contaminated lagoon causing minor skin irritations.
For further information on this release, please contact:
FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356