Guam ‘very blessed’ as Hurricane Mawar leaves with no reported deaths

Chainsaws buzzed Friday as neighbors helped neighbors clear toppled bushes and started cleansing the wreckage of Hurricane Mawar, which walloped Guam because the strongest hurricane to hit the island in over 20 years however appeared to have handed with out leaving loss of life or huge destruction in its wake.

Whereas it was nonetheless early going within the restoration effort, police Sgt. Paul Tapao stated there didn’t appear to be any main harm, fundamental roads have been satisfactory and “Guam has been very blessed to don’t have any storm-related deaths or any critical accidents.”

To Tapao, the roar of the mechanical saws was a reminder of the resilience of the storm-prone U.S. Pacific territory and its individuals.


“Everybody helps out with the cleansing,” he stated. “That’s the Guamanian approach — that’s embedded within the blood.”

He added that there is a saying in Chamorro — the indigenous language of the Mariana Islands — “inafa maolek,” meaning cooperation, an idea of restoring concord or order.

“Storms have taught our island to be resilient,” he stated. “We’re nonetheless right here.”

Nonetheless, officers stated it might take weeks to wash up the mess after Mawar briefly made landfall as a Class 4 storm Wednesday night time on the northern tip of the island of roughly 150,000 individuals, flipping automobiles, tearing off roofs and leaving bushes naked.

Some villages had little or no water Friday, Tapao stated. About 51,000 clients have been with out electrical energy, in line with the Federal Emergency Administration Company. There have been 725 individuals in shelters Friday, down from almost 1,000 on Thursday, officers stated.

Water floods a constructing in Hagatna, Guam, on Could 25, 2023, after Hurricane Mawar handed via the realm.  (AP Picture/Grace Garces Bordallo)

Water contamination from the heavy rains and runoff was a priority: The Guam Waterworks Authority issued a discover advising residents to boil water earlier than ingesting it, and the Guam Environmental Safety Company warned individuals to remain out of the ocean in any respect seashores due to excessive micro organism content material.

The central and northern elements of the island acquired greater than 2 ft of rain because the eyewall handed. The swirling hurricane churned up a storm surge and waves that crashed via coastal reefs and swamped homes.

Within the southeastern village of Yona, the floodwaters reached above the waist on the residence the place Alexander Ken M. Aflague’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law reside, he stated. Two vans and an SUV have been utterly submerged.

Aflague stated the temper on the island was like after each storm, as individuals assess the harm and transfer towards rebuilding their lives again to regular. His main fear was shortages, saying provides have been at ranges just like what they have been throughout the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The cleanup is the wrestle however all of us pitch in and assist one another,” he stated through textual content message.


Additionally in Yona, winds peeled again the roof of Enrique Baza’s mom’s home, permitting water to wreck the whole lot inside. His mom rode out the storm with him at his concrete residence, he stated, however “my mother’s home didn’t escape.”

He drove round in a pickup after the storm handed on the lookout for provides to restore her roof, however most shops have been with out energy and accepting solely money. Many wood or tin houses have been badly broken or had collapsed outright.

“It’s type of a shock,” Baza stated.

On Friday, President Joe Biden declared {that a} main catastrophe exists for Guam and ordered federal help to complement restoration efforts.

There have been lengthy traces at ATMs and a few shops and fuel stations on Friday.

Officers stated they anticipated having the ability to resume operations on the flooded A.B. Received Pat Worldwide Airport subsequent Tuesday.

Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero gave the all-clear Thursday night, returning the island to its typical situation of readiness because the Nationwide Climate Service lifted its hurricane watch.

“We’ve weathered the storm,” Leon Guerrero stated.


The storm is forecast to proceed shifting northwest earlier than turning sharply north Tuesday or Wednesday, in line with Taiwan’s Central Climate Bureau. That monitor would hold the hurricane at sea for days because it step by step weakens.

Mawar had regained its standing as a brilliant hurricane on Thursday, with winds reaching 150 mph. By early Friday, they’d strengthened to 175 mph, in line with the climate service.

On Friday morning, Mawar was centered 345 miles west-northwest of Guam and 360 miles west of Rota, Guam’s neighbor to the north, shifting west-northwest at 14 mph.

Carlo Quinonez, who lives close to Tamuning, stated he rode out the storm in a resort and felt “very fortunate” that the constructing was largely unscathed. A close-by deserted constructing misplaced lots of its home windows and a part of a wall on the fifth story, Quinonez stated.

“It was the height that had us questioning our security. Flooring rattling and partitions creaking. Tossing particles, and roots, and fruit all over the place,” he wrote in an electronic mail.

The Navy has ordered the USS Nimitz plane service strike group to go to the island to help within the restoration effort, in line with a U.S. official. The Nimitz, together with the USS Bunker Hill, a cruiser, and the USS Wayne E. Meyer, a destroyer, have been south of Japan and anticipated to reach in Guam in three or 4 days, stated the official, who spoke on situation of anonymity to debate ship actions not but made public.

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