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Thursday, April 15, 2004



Aid flows into
typhoon-devastated Yap

A 150-mph storm killed one
man and left 1,000 homeless


A Hawaii-based U.S. Coast Guard crew and other emergency response teams are providing supplies to the residents of Yap, a small island 400 miles southwest of Guam that was hit last week with a typhoon packing 150-mph winds and 35-foot surf.

One man was killed in the storm, and another was injured. Officials estimate that more than 1,000 residents were left homeless by the storm, while more than 10,000 homes sustained damage.

About 6,300 people are accepting meals from aid agencies.

"Houses were destroyed," said Coast Guard Hawaii spokeswoman Erica Taylor, who was in Yap last week. "People were pretty much camping out in the rubble that used to be their homes."

President Bush declared Yap a major disaster area Sunday, and a Federal Emergency Management Agency team has been on the island since Typhoon Sudal hit April 7.

"There's been a lot of residential damage," said FEMA spokesman John Treanor. "The first thing is the shelter and the food and the water; then we will start with the rebuilding effort."

Hawaii's small Yapese population -- about 60 residents -- has been trying to get in touch with their families on the island since the typhoon touched down.

Most have had little luck as Yap's phone service, along with water and electricity, has been spotty since the storm. Treanor said most of the island is still without water. Power has been restored to about half of Yap's residents.

"The typhoon mostly wiped out everything," said Jesse Defan, of Ewa Beach, who got through to his sister on the island Tuesday night. "This is one the strongest (storms) that she ever seen in her life."

Helen Marmar, also of Ewa Beach, said her 72-year-old mother called the storm the worst ever to hit the island.

"My mom said she cannot compare it with anything else," Marmar said. "This is bad. This has really put a gap in housing."

Danny Rescue, senior consul at the Consulate of the Federated States of Micronesia, said he has had trouble getting through to the island's government offices. Once he has more details on the extent of the destruction, he plans to coordinate a donation drive, he said.



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