NACHC is closely tracking developments in the aftermath of a massive typhoon that struck Saipan and Guam this week. The category 5 typhoon, known as “Yutu,” has moved away from the region near the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, but left in its wake obliterated homes, downed power lines and flooding. It is the worst storm to hit any part of the U.S. since 1935. There are six health centers located in the area. Their status is not known at this time. According to a Washington Post report, “Saipan’s health center is running on emergency power, and the one in Tinian, which has no patients, sustained major damage.”
The typhoon’s sustained winds reached 180 mph, strong enough to rip homes off their foundations. Electricity and water services are down in Tinian and Saipan, but cell phone services are still functional on Saipan, according to an email from Clifford Chang, Executive Director of the Pacific Islands Primary Care Association. Relief efforts are underway, but weather conditions and debris in the roadways are making it difficult for responders, according to a press release issued by the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
International relief organization Direct Relief is in touch with providers on the ground and organizing a shipment of medical supplies to the local hospital on Saipan that includes an emergency health kit, medical tent, backpacks, and hygiene supplies.
Update: A report published today indicates that Tinian Health Center is inactive due to major flooding and damage and Kagman Community Health Center is scheduled to reopen today.
We will keep you posted as developments continue.