Federated States of Micronesia - Typhoon Sudal OCHA Situation Report No. 2

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 05 May 2004
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2004/0069
OCHA Situation Report No. 2
Federated States of Micronesia - Typhoon Sudal
Occurred on 9 April 2004

This report is based on information provided by the UNDAC team in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

Situation

1. On Friday 9 April, Typhoon Sudal passed Yap State of Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), causing extensive damage to public and private utilities and food crops in the mainland of Yap, whose population is 8,000. The outlying islands of Ulithi and Fais were also struck by the typhoon.

2. Although there were no reported fatalities or missing persons and just 8 people required hospital treatment, approximately 1,000 people were estimated to be homeless, some 500 of whom were in public shelters, whilst others were staying with relatives.

3. Many homes were damaged with their fairly light metal roofs blown off. Of the five hotels on Yap, one was destroyed and two suffered damage. A newly completed sports complex, comprising several light industrial style structures, was extensively damaged. Most schools are not functional for their normal purpose; some are in use as shelters whilst others have suffered damage to classrooms.

4. Initially badly affected through damage to systems and lack of mains power, the various water systems serving the island have been restored to a large extent. The local power company has been working flat out and by now approximately 80% of primary and 40% of secondary distribution lines are operational. Repairs to landlines continue and communication with some outlying villages remains a problem, but the island's cell phone system is operational. All primary roads are open and debris is now progressively being removed from the verges.

5. There is considerable concern about the damage to crops, particularly taro, which is a staple for many people and betel nut, collection of which provides the economic base for some villages. A comprehensive agricultural assessment will publish its findings in the next few days.

National and International Response

6. The dominant international presence on Yap comes from the United States, where elements of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the US Forest Service, US Coast Guard and the armed forces have all contributed to the relief effort. FEMA is in process of establishing a major recovery and rehabilitation operation and currently has more than 40 staff in Yap.

7. The FEMA has flown in tarpaulins to provide immediate protection from the elements and 200 family tents have arrived by ship from Guam and have been distributed. This should radically reduce the numbers in public shelters and release them for their primary purposes, mainly education.

8. The FSM Government has established a Typhoon Sudal Relief Fund and welcomes cash donations. Yap State Government initially granted USD 250,000 and the State Legislature is considering the Governor's request for a further USD 400,000. The Pacific Islands Forum has granted the FSM Government USD 11,500 from its Regional Natural Disaster Relief Fund. In addition, a US Presidential Disaster Declaration issued on 10 April has allowed the FEMA to allocate USD 7,443,000 to its initial budget for this disaster.

9. Upon request from the FSM Government, OCHA deployed a UNDAC team to Yap to assist in needs assessments and to follow up on the suggestions made by the two UNDAC teams which were deployed to FSM for the last two years. Based on the assessment by the UNDAC team, OCHA has provided USD 40,000, consisting of USD 20,000 from its own resources and USD 20,000 from the Norwegian pre-positioned funds, to support recovery of the affected community through regeneration of staple food cropping activity.

Capacity Building for Disaster Management

10. Yap State of FSM was hit by two typhoons within five months; Typhoon Lupit struck the outer islands of the State in November 2003. It should be noted that Chuuk State, located next to Yap State, was hit by Tropical Storm Chata'an in July 2002. It is expected that lessons learned from these natural disasters which occurred in less than two years in FSM should be shared among the national and local authorities and the UN system and utilized to establish better capacity for disaster management.

11. This situation report, together with information on other ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int

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