Guam still recovering from Typhoon Mawar a week after storm
Stars and Stripes May 30, 2023
Guam continued to piece itself together Tuesday as construction and cleanup crews made progress restoring power and water to the U.S. island territory in the wake of Typhoon Mawar.
A week after the storm roared across the island on May 24 with 150 mph winds and torrential rains, U.S. military installations were finishing damage assessments and resuming normal operations, said Lt. Cmdr. Katie Koenig, spokeswoman for Joint Region Marianas.
“As with any storm system, every installation took great care to prepare for our mission and operations. We ensured our staff had time ahead of the typhoon to secure both their personal workspaces and their homes,” she told Stars and Stripes by email Tuesday. “No amount of preparation could have prevented the damage that was done and all units are contributing to the restoration efforts.”
At Andersen Air Force Base, power and water are restored to most facilities and housing, said base spokeswoman Capt. Katie Mueller, but final assessments have yet to be finished.
“Some buildings did see flooding. Trees and debris are strewn about the installation and vehicles were damaged,” she said by email Tuesday. “Andersen members are coming together as a community through ongoing recovery efforts.”
Roads at Naval Base Guam were cleared as of Tuesday, and all critical facilities have generator power, Koenig said. At the recently constructed Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz, some structures had wind or water damage and road access is still being secured.
Representatives of Naval Base Guam and Camp Blaz did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment Tuesday.
“We are pushing every avenue to ensure we return to steady-state services as quickly and safely as possible, both on and off the bases,” Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson, commander of Joint Region Marianas, said in a Tuesday email to Stars and Stripes. “We are all impacted by the destruction of Typhoon Mawar and we stand together with our regional and federal partners to ensure critical operations are not disrupted."
Andersen’s airfield has already received multiple aircraft, including a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules and an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, which delivered personnel, equipment and around 90 tons of aid, Mueller said. The base has also helped 175 people get off the island for permanent changes of station.
“Those are all huge wins for us,” she said.
The island’s Apra Harbor port, which serves Naval Base Guam and the Port of Guam, is also open and functional, Koenig said.
Across the island, most of the civilian population is still without power and many are without steady access to water.
The Guam Power Authority can meet just 26% of the island’s demand for electrical power, according to a news release Tuesday from the island’s Joint Information Center.
The Guam Waterworks Authority has fully restored the water system in many areas and has installed nine 6,000-gallon portable tanks where water service is still out, the release states.
A.B. Won Pat International Airport Guam reopened for commercial travel on Monday, although with delays expected for departures and arrivals.
“As we reopen, I want to ensure we set the expectations for all our passengers,” the airport said Sunday in a news release. “We are open, but we are still recovering to pre-typhoon levels as we continue to improve passenger experience.”