The Tinian municipality is slowly getting back to normalcy with the help of federal partners. Saipan’s neighbor was hit the hardest when Super Typhoon Yutu hit the island head on late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
Satellite images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed Yutu’s eye totally encircling the island, which is just 39 square miles.
In a statement, Tinian Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas said that Yutu nearly oblitirated Tinian. “Our people have lost their homes and many of their belongings. There is no running water, our stores have run out of drinking water, and out gas stations are currently inoperable,” said San Nicolas.
He assured, though, that the Tinian Municipal Operations Center had already began bringing essential resources to the island’s residents with the help of federal, and local public, private partners.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the American Red Cross had already began distributing humanitarian rations and bottled water, while the potable water had also been distributed straight from the local aquifer with the help of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., Department of Fire and Emergency Management Services, and the Department of Public Safety.
“However, many residents have run out of fuel and cannot avail of these services or do so with great difficulty. Despite these challenges, [the TMOC] is making headway in bringing essential resources back to our residents,” said San Nicolas.
“We are currently working with local private sector partners to install a generator at the Maui well pump to kickstart water distribution. We are also working with [DoD] in partnership with FEMA to establish a reverse osmosis system to make more water available for Tinian residents.”
On Sunday, San Nicolas and Rep. Edwin P. Aldan (R-Tinian) announced during a Facebook video post that the Tinian International Airport had opened for humanitarian and military operations while Star Marianas had also resumed its flight reservations.
“The Tinian port is also open for daylight operations. Additionally, the [MOC] is working diligently with our two local gas stations to re-establish access to gas,” said San Nicolas.
San Nicolas said those who wanted to donate should prioritize giving dinking and potable water, non-perishable food items, sanitary wipes (body use), mosquito coils or repellents, tents, and flashlights with batteries.
Saipan residents who want to donate goods to Tinian can get in touch the Office of Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider at 285-0230 or firstname.lastname@example.org or for Guam residents at the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam at 687-0277.
In another Facebook video post with Sen. Hude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian), San Nicolas said a 400-kilowatt generator arrived yesterday with the help of the Army Corps of Engineers, CUC, FEMA, and the CNMI Governor’s Office.
The generator was brought to the Marpo Valley pump station and was connected to the Maui Well. CUC energized the Maui Pump Station No. 2 but water distribution throughout the island was stopped due to reports of breaks and leaks on the pipes.
“Water in most areas will be suspended so issues can be resolved,” said San Nicolas. “CUC is suspending service at this time in order to address the breaks.”
He added that residents can report broken water pipes or leaks at 433-9256 and at regular working hours at 789-9482, 783-0062, and 285-9146 or at the Tinian MOC during regular working hours at 433-1803.