‘I hid under the kitchen sink’


One of those who survived Super Typhoon Yutu’s fierce winds was forced to hide under the kitchen sink for a good two hours just to save his life.

Maria Belibei, who resides in a two-bedroom apartment in San Antonio during the onslaught of Yutu, had her tin roof blown away. She noted that, while her walls were concrete, the wind damage was so great that one wall fell on her car.

“The whole roof was blown away with some parts of wood and the ceiling left behind in the kitchen,” she recalled in an interview with Saipan Tribune. Belibei noted that she did not prepare for her roof to be blown away at around 1am, considering that her house was all concrete.

“When it blew away, I couldn’t save anything—I didn’t have a place to set aside where it won’t get wet,” she said.

Beliebei currently lives with her common-law husband. Together, they have three cars altogether, all of which were beaten up by flying debris during Yutu’s over 180mph gusts.

“Some parts of the concrete wall were starting to break away from the wind. It was starting to crumble, so I saved myself by hiding under the kitchen sink because that was the only place I could think of that was safe,” Belibei recalled, adding that she hid with her husband under the sink.

She noted that their double garages were completely blown away.

With no other place to go, Belibei and her husband still stay in the same house, taking shelter under a makeshift roof made out of a large tarp.

“All my friends also had their places blown away, so why would I ask them for help? I tried calling hotels, but they were all fully booked,” she said.

Saipan Tribune chanced upon Belibei in a laundromat in Garapan, where she was one of several that lined up to get their clothes washed.

“Everybody doesn’t have water and power, so it is useless to bother our friends since we are all in the same situation,” she said.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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