A trail of ruin on Rota


Images of destruction littered Rota yesterday, in the wake of Typhoon Mangkhut, which hit the island late Monday. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

SONGSONG, Rota—The island of Rota, which bore the brunt of Typhoon Mangkhut late Monday and was reportedly the strongest typhoon to hit the island since 2002, was in shambles in the wake of the Category 2 typhoon that brought maximum sustained winds of over 100 miles per hour (160.9 kilometers per hour) to the island.

Saipan Tribune, which flew out to the island of Rota yesterday to scope out the damage left by Typhoon Mangkhut, found widespread damage in Rota’s main village of Songsong.

Toppled trees were sprawled across the main roads, power poles and transformers littered the island, and numerous homes were left without roofs or were toppled altogether.

According to resident Benny Lami-ing, his entire kitchen was blown away and his home was flooded. Lami-ing was forced to seek shelter with a neighbor.

The only typhoon that came close to Lami-ing ‘s experience on Rota was Typhoon Pongsona that devastated the island back in 2002.

Lami-ing said there is nothing else he can do but move on and restore his home little by little and hopes he can receive help from the local or federal government.

Lami-ing was only one of the hundreds of Rota residents who lost their homes to Typhoon Mangkhut.

Over 40 individuals who completely lost their homes are currently seeking shelter at the Rota Office on Aging and are not sure where they will go if they can no longer seek shelter there.

As of yesterday, the U.S. government has already declared a state of disaster emergency in the CNMI and reinforcements have been deployed.

Power was down in several parts of the island and water was not immediately available.

The forecasted point of impact was Guam and Rota but it is ow being reported that the eye of Typhoon Mangkhut’ went over Rota directly.

According to Rota Mayor’s Office press secretary Ivan Mereb, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who flew to the island yesterday aboard one of two military Osprey helicopters, met with military and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials to discuss the assessment and recovery phase that Rota will soon undergo.

Mangkhut was projected to intensify into a Category 4 typhoon as it approached the Marianas. A Category 4 typhoon has maximum sustained winds of 130–156 mph (209–251 kmh).

In comparison, according to a Wikipedia entry, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center assessed Typhoon Soudelor, which hit Saipan in August 2015, as a Category 5-equivalent super typhoon, with one-minute sustained winds of 180 mph (285 kmh).

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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