The Northern Mariana Islands are one of America’s most remote territories, located to the north of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. As I mentioned in my post here, the islands are small, with only a little more than 50,000 people living there, most of them located on Saipan. There are two other populated islands, Rota and Tinian. Rota has about 2,500 people living on it.
I’m talking about Rota because last week, they were hit by the category 2 typhoon Mangkhut, and from what I can tell, nobody noticed. Luckily, the Saipan Tribune, a local media source, has done some great reporting on the disaster:
House floor leader Glenn L. Maratita (R-Rota) is appealing for the community’s help as the people of the CNMI’s southernmost island look to get back on their feet after the devastating onslaught of Typhoon Mangkhut on Monday.
The Category 2 weather disturbance hammered Rota with strong winds that reached 139mph, while being drenched by eight to 10 inches of continuous rains last Monday. Mangkhut had minimal effect on the islands of Saipan and Tinian.
“From what I heard, it was really devastating. Mostly down south, in the Songsong area. Utility poles and power lines were down, with the possible water contamination because of leaks. So, I’m also still waiting for the whole assessment.”
He is pleased that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Commonwealth Utilities Corp. executive director Gary Camacho, and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency were already in Rota doing an assessment.
Maratita said that damage to property in residential areas were significant, with the affected families and persons currently staying in the designated shelter.
The government in Saipan seems to have responded quickly to the disaster, with a more recent story from Monday talking about how power had already been restored to much of Rota:
The island of Rota is recovering fairly quickly, with nearly the whole island re-energized a week after Typhoon Mangkhut raked the island.
In a telephone interview with Rota Mayor Eifram Atalig yesterday, he said that about 90 percent of the island has been re-energized.
During Saipan Tribune’s visit to Rota last Tuesday, it was learned that 40-plus power poles were either knocked over or destroyed. The entire island had no power and water.
Yet water has already been completely restored on the island yesterday.
The US media went berserk over the hurricane in Puerto Rico, but they couldn’t be bothered to even mention the typhoon wrecking much of Rota. Why the difference in treatment?
First, the Northern Marianas are much smaller than Puerto Rico, and much more remote, so they have far less chance of impacting US elections in a significant way. The media coverage of Hurricane Maria has been centered heavily around generating hatred for Trump and inspiring Puerto Ricans to vote for the Democrats in November, to help turn Florida blue. The Marianas are less politically important to the Democrats, so the Democrat media cares little about them.
Second, the Northern Mariana Islands appear to be much friendlier to Trump than Puerto Rico is. It’s worth noting that the territorial governor Ralph DLG Torres is on friendly terms with Trump and endorsed him in the primaries, and the Northern Marianas were critical in helping Trump clinch the Republican nomination as well.
Third, the people of Rota are quickly getting back on their feet and not waiting for the US Federal Government to come and rescue them.
For all these reasons, the media is not interested in this story. Don’t expect any serious disaster reporting out of these places unless it becomes politically useful for the Democrats. Right now, as far as the media is concerned, these islands don’t exist.