Residents of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are bracing for months without electricity or running water in the aftermath of the strongest storm to hit any part of the US this year. Super Typhoon Yutu crossed over the US territory about 3,800 miles west of Hawaii early Thursday local time. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, the commonwealth's delegate to Congress, says the territory will need significant help to recover from the Category 5 storm, which he says injured several people. Sablan tells the AP that he has heard reports of injuries and that people are waiting at the island's hospital to be treated. He could not provide further details or official estimates of casualties.
"There's a lot of damage and destruction," Sablan says. "It's like a small war just passed through." Sablan, speaking from Saipan, says the entire island sustained damage, but there are areas that are worse than others. He has not been able to reach officials on the territory's neighbor islands of Tinian and Rota because phones and electricity are out. Sablan says colleagues in Congress have reached out to offer help and he expects there will be a presidential disaster declaration put in place. Maximum sustained winds of 180mph were recorded around the eye of the storm, which passed over Saipan and Tinian, says Brandon Aydlett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
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