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Friday, April 18, 2014

Bad weather worsens Rota emergency

Acting governor Jude U. Hofschneider said yesterday that a tropical disturbance slowly moving closer to Guam further delays the arrival of sea cargo to Rota, which has been declared under a state of emergency since Feb. 14.

Hofschneider also hinted the possibility of extending the emergency opening of Rota’s East Harbor as sea conditions have worsened that continue to disallow the barge carrying loads of goods to enter West Harbor.

“We are in constant communication with the mayor of Rota. As you know, there’s high surf advisory and that would further delay the ability to move shipments to Rota. We continue to monitor the situation,” the acting governor said.

Hofschneider said at least three companies have already offered their sea vessels to bring goods to Rota using East Harbor but as of yesterday, none of these companies has actually gone to deliver shipments to the CNMI’s southernmost island.

Sen. Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) said these companies include GPPC and Pacific Marine.

“The companies are asking whether the opening of East Harbor could be extended for more than 30 days because it takes time to prepare and mobilize resources,” Manglona said.

While Rota has been able to receive food assistance through the U.S. Department of Defense and other agencies, there are essential supplies that so far can only be brought in through sea transportation such as propane gas and chlorine used for water treatment.

Rota last received sea shipment in November because bad weather conditions have since made it dangerous for barges to enter West Harbor.

The National Weather Service Guam said showers, thunderstorms and 30 miles per hour winds are expected through the weekend because of a tropical disturbance northwest of Chuuk.

The system is expected to slowly move westward and closer to Guam. Rota being the closest CNMI island to Guam has been experiencing sea conditions that are much worse than what they were in the past weeks.

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