Saipan’s local court, the Guma’ Hustisia, was already closed prior to Super Typhoon Yutu due to air-conditioning and mold problems and the typhoon just added to the building’s list of woes, sustaining major damage to its infrastructure.
According to a statement from the Commonwealth Judiciary administrative office, the typhoon’s 180-mile-per-hour winds damaged the Guma’ Hustisia’s roof and emergency exit doors and flooded several areas of the building.
The damage was extensive. Flying debris shattered the Guma’ Hustisia’s roof and skylight glass above the lobby, allowing debris and rainwater to enter the building. The rainwater flooded the building’s lobby, causing severe water damage to areas on the first floor and second floor.
Additionally, ceiling tiles in various offices within the Guma’ Hustisia caved in, damaging court equipment and documents.
Flying debris also damaged several Judiciary vehicles and one vehicle was totaled after it was pushed and slammed into a wall by Yutu’s forceful winds.
As a temporary fix, tarps were placed over the building’s exposed areas but the Judiciary is seeking a more permanent repair for health and safety purposes.
The CNMI Judiciary on Tinian—called Kotten Tinian—also sustained water damage throughout the building. Numerous court equipment and air-conditioning units were damaged as well.
A week after Super Typhoon Yutu devastated the island of Saipan and Tinian, Superior Court Chief Justice Alexandro Castro, Presiding Judge Roberto Naraja, and other member of the CNMI Judiciary met with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres to discuss the impact of Yutu on the Saipan and Tinian judiciary.
Torres pledged to assist the Commonwealth Judiciary with its recovery efforts and provide as much support as possible.
Torres also requested federal assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the Commonwealth Judiciary’s behalf.
FEMA has already assessed the damage inflicted by Super Typhoon Yutu on the Guma’ Hustisia and has already started discussion on possible assistance.
Court services have resumed despite the Guma’ Hustisia’s current state. The service windows located at the front of the building are open from 9am to 3pm from Monday to Friday.
The Kotten Tinian is also open for court services from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday.