The Northern Marianas have been totally flattened by the Category 5 storm. The damage sounds even worse than what Puerto Rico experienced:
Some airport and shipping access has returned to a U.S. Pacific territory ravaged by a super typhoon, but tens of thousands of residents still without power and sifting through rubble face a long road to recovery.
Thursday’s storm was the strongest to hit any part of the United States this year. It ripped off roofs, overturned cars, toppled trees and killed a woman who took shelter in an abandoned building that collapsed. Others were injured, including three people who needed surgery.
The airport sustained significant damage to buildings, and several crumpled, small planes were scattered around the tarmac. Officials said the airport is still mostly without power, and the Transportation Security Administration has only one working scanning machine. Baggage and cargo may have to be examined by hand, the statement said.
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman David Gervino said the agency is focused on helping restore power, opening sea and air ports, and ensuring cellphone towers can operate on emergency power until electricity returns.
Super Typhoon Yutu packed maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (290 kph) as it passed over the islands of Tinian and Saipan, the National Weather Service said. By Saturday, power was still out across Saipan, with 50,000 residents, and Tinian, with 3,000 people.
Many homes were destroyed because some families can’t afford concrete homes that conform to building codes meant to withstand typhoon winds, said Edwin Propst, a member of the territory’s House of Representatives.
Some people build houses with concrete foundations and walls, but the structures have wooden or tin roofs.