Tropical Storm Chataan wreaks havoc in FSM

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): July 3, 2002 - More than 20 people have been confirmed dead and over 30 injured in Chuuk, in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Chataan which earlier this week plotted a slow and destructive path through the Federated States of Micronesia.

Tropical Storm Chataan had began in the southern part of Pohnpei State on June 27, brewing as a Depression of 30-45 miles per hour winds, moving at an agonizing four miles per hour. The Depression brought heavy rains and swells of over 10 feet, battering the low-lying atolls of Nukuoro and Sapwuafik destroying most of the seawalls and numerous coastlines structures.

Initial assessment reports from the atolls indicated massive intrusion of sea-water onto the land, extensive crop damage and some missing live-stocks. No fatalities were reported from the southern atolls.

The depression strengthened into a Tropical Storm dubbed, Chataan [Chamorro for rainy] as it headed towards Chuuk State gusting at over 50 mph, whipping the Ocean into swells of over 15ft.

On July 01, Tropical Storm Chataan reached Chuuk with damaging winds of over 65mph that ripped through the lagoon with torrential rains that flooded most of the lagoon islands. Heavy rainfalls and strong winds brought down and flooded several houses, snapped power-lines and overflowed the islands drainage systems.

Tropical Storm Chataan passed closest to Chuuk on July 02 with a deluge that prompted extensive landslides throughout the State. Most of the villages on Weno have reported fatalities and injuries from landslides. The Municipalities of Dublon, Fefan, Udot, have also confirmed victims of landslides.

Over thousands of residents have been displaced to newly identified shelters since the designated shelters on Weno, the schools, have also been flooded. Numerous homes have been reported either damaged or buried under mud. Most of the villages on Weno are reporting fatalities from landslides. On Weno, the capital city and center of activity, the two villages of Mwan and Nepukos have confirmed deaths in their villages from the landslides, while the injury count rises as reports continues pouring in from the other villages.

The latest from the Chuuk State Hospital, reported close to a hundred people brought in for medical assessment and assistance.

Chuuk Governor Dr. Ansito Walter had declared on July 03, 2002 the State of Chuuk is now in a State of Emergency.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356
e-mail: fsmpio@mail.fm