Typhoon Mawar coasts off Guam, island assesses damage after ‘withstanding the storm’

Typhoon Mawar moved away from the island of Guam on Thursday after bringing gusts of up to 225 km/h to this US territory in the middle of the Pacific, where officials declared a “storm withstanding” and continued to assess the damage.

According to the US Weather Service (NWS), the storm which is ranked 4th on a scale of 5 is now moving towards the Philippines and Taiwan with even more violent winds with speeds of up to 240 km/h.

“We now continue to focus our efforts on repairing infrastructure and restoring services to residents,” island governor Lou Leon Guerrero said on Instagram.

“I would like to thank all of you for taking all the prescribed precautionary measures and braving the storm once again.”

Residents on the island of 170,000 residents reported an improvement in the situation on Thursday evening.

“The winds are finally calming down. There’s a lot of debris in my garden,” Becky Merrill, a 46-year-old teacher who lives in the south of the island, told AFP.

Tens of thousands of homes were without power on Thursday, according to the Guam Power Authority, the island’s electricity supplier, which said a blackout had been averted and acknowledged that overnight cuts from Mawar Pass from Wednesday to Thursday “would have made operations difficult”. Is”.

A full assessment of the damage caused by the storm is yet to be completed.

Images available on social media showed uprooted trees, overturned vehicles, solar panels flying in the air, a wall collapsing under the pressure of the wind and waves several meters high crashing fiercely onto the shores.

Ocean conditions remain dangerous even for large vessels, according to the NWS.

– Unmatched strength for 20 years –

At 1:46 p.m. local time (0346 GMT), the storm was about 217 km northwest of Guam, meteorologists said.

Forecasters’ models show that Mavar, which is expected to maintain its intensity for the next two days, is headed toward Taiwan and the Philippines.

Prior to the storm’s landfall, the governor of Guam raised concerns about the safety of residents. Mavar is “the most powerful hurricane of the last 20 years”, recalled Lou León Guerrero.

Lost in the middle of the Pacific, Guam is located near the Mariana Trench, more than 6,000 km west of Hawaii and about 1,500 km east of the Philippines.

US President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency on Tuesday so the federal government could expedite aid and relief to the island.

“The White House is in close contact with the government of Guam and has offered all necessary support,” spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre insisted from Washington on Wednesday.

Besides tourism, the US military is one of the lungs of the region. About 22,000 soldiers and their families are stationed on the island, which sees passing long-range bombers and nuclear attack submarines.

Guam is also home to the United States’ major fuel and ammunition stores in the Pacific.

“All military aircraft took off or were placed in protective hangars and all military vessels put to sea before the onset of damaging winds,” said Katie Koenig, a spokeswoman for the region.

According to him, the remaining employees have been “instructed to shelter in place”. But the military “regularly trains to respond to natural disasters” and stands ready to deploy to help the population “once+alert+ordered”.

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