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IOM Responds to Devastating Super-Typhoon in Micronesia; Philippines on Standby

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Micronesia - IOM staff in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) are responding to the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Maysak which barrelled across the group of 600 Pacific islands from 28 March to 2 April.

As many as nine people may have died in the storm, which has also destroyed crops and contaminated many water sources. Packing wind speeds exceeding 250 kilometres per hour, Maysak smashed houses, schools, and public buildings, and also sank several fishing and dive boats.

Speaking from the capital Pohnpei earlier on Friday Stuart Simpson, IOM’s Chief of Mission in FSM stressed “Our overwhelming priority in the coming hours is to ensure that we get clean water – and the means to produce it locally – to isolated island communities. Hot on the heels of that, we need to ensure that people are able to repair damaged dwellings and to quickly resume their daily lives”.

On March 30, FSM President Manny Mori issued a Presidential Emergency Declaration, and IOM teams based in the main islands of Yap and Chuuk responded by facilitating pre-onset disaster preparedness activities in tandem with respective State Disaster Coordination Officers. They also provided technical support to post-disaster assessment and data collection efforts.

The Government deployed the FSS Independence from Pohnpei the night of March 30 to Chuuk with relief supplies, and on April 2, USAID authorized initial relief funding in order to supplement the humanitarian assistance provided by the FSM National Government.

The boat visited isolated islands which bore the brunt of typhoon Maysak, bringing cases of bottled water, medical supplies and a team of assessors, including medical personnel.

A second vessel – the FSS Micronesia –left Pohnpei this morning for Chuuk and Yap. “It is carrying bottled water, chainsaws, hand saws, tarps, ropes, nails, solar lanterns, and basic food items. We had item warehoused in Yap and Pohnpei, and took the critical items out of our Pohnpei warehouse to complement the delivery to Chuuk. We offered unique water-related items unavailable in local markets – 1,000 and 5,000 litre water bladders, tap stands, jerry cans,” said IOM’s Chief of Party and Manager, of the PREPARE readiness programme, speaking from Pohnpei earlier today.

IOM deployed a surge team to the Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu in mid-March, to assist in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam which caused widespread damage and left 11 people dead. IOM personnel are on standby in the Philippines as Maysak threatens the eastern seaboard – it is weakening in intensity but is nonetheless expected to pack strong winds and heavy rain when it hits over the Easter weekend.

For more information please contact Stuart Simpson, IOM Chief of Mission in the Federated States of Micronesia at ssimpson@iom.int or +6912962460.

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