Guam still ‘4 to 6 weeks’ from full recovery after Typhoon Mawar
Stars and Stripes June 2, 2023
Ten days after Typhoon Mawar left Guam in shambles, the power and water were finally restored Friday morning at the home of Megan Relihan-Perez and her family in Tamuning village, 12 miles from Naval Base Guam.
Conditions were so bad that her family spent several days camping in their yard and sleeping in their van due to the heat, Relihan-Perez told Stars and Stripes by email Friday.
“It was rough — especially because we have three kids and I’m 37 weeks pregnant,” she said.
Mawar, now a tropical storm, lashed southern and central Japan on Friday, bringing periodic downpours to the Tokyo area after pummeling Okinawa with strong winds as it passed overnight Thursday, according to The Associated Press.
The strongest storm to strike Guam since Typhoon Pongsona in 2002, Mawar’s 140 mph winds uprooted trees, damaged buildings and left much of the 210-square-mile U.S. territory without power or access to water.
Guam has no shortage of fuel, although it had distribution issues early last week that are since resolved, according to Krystal Paco-San Agustin, spokeswoman for Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
“[There are] no lines at any of our stations and our Guam Port Authority and Guam Police Department continue to support our fuel companies with distribution,” she told Stars and Stripes by email Friday. “Of note, 18 of the Mobil stations are open. Shell has 6 of its stations open.”
Relihan-Perez said she waited for five hours one day early last week to buy the $20 in gas allowed at a station on the naval base.
“People here are resilient and with the help of neighbors and community, we always had everything we needed,” she said.
Guam is still facing significant problems. Just 41.5% of the island had power as of Friday, and only 53% of its wells were online, Guam’s Joint Information Center said in a news release that day.
The island is likely four to six weeks away from 100% recovery of its power and water systems, the governor said at a news conference Wednesday.
At Andersen Air Force Base, most residents had power and the commissary was working to keep everything stocked, base resident Alina Wright told Stars and Stripes by Facebook Messenger on Friday.
“A few days ago, we finally got fresh produce, that was very exciting,” she said. “Still no meat or milk and dairy, the freezers are still down, but we actually ventured off base yesterday and were able to get milk and eggs.”
Guam’s investments in better homes and infrastructure has paid off, according to the governor’s spokeswoman.
“Compared to past typhoons, the last major one being 21 years ago which flattened Guam, the people of Guam are proving resilient,” Paco-San Agustin said.