With Super Typhoon Hagibis now out of the CNMI’s area of responsibility, damage assessment can now start, according to acting governor Arnold I. Palacios yesterday.
Hagibis is now spinning toward Japan after nearly hitting the CNMI early Monday morning and, while there was “minimal damage” based on a windshield tour of the island, Palacios said it was still damage for Saipan residents, regardless.
“Damage assessments are supposed to start today [Thursday], and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency is on-island. We are going to start doing assessments,” he said. “We went around the island. Some areas have very minimal [damage], but that is not to say [there is no damage at all]. We need to make those evaluations so our federal partners—U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies—are also making those assessments.”
Palacios further noted that the CNMI was “blessed” in that Super Typhoon Hagibis did not directly hit the CNMI’s major islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, and only directly hitting the uninhabited island of Anatahan.
Hagibis is currently en route to Japan with maximum sustained winds of 160mph.
Super Typhoon Hagibis was described by national media as a typhoon that demonstrated “rapid intensification” by jumping the whole spectrum of the typhoon intensity rankings from a category 1 tropical storm last Saturday to a category 5 super typhoon early Monday morning.
The White House has already approved a request for an emergency declaration in the CNMI that would allow the CNMI to access federal resources.
Palacios sent the request to the White House Monday afternoon. It was approved early Tuesday morning.