Friday, April 3, 2015

Typhoon Maysak Hits Chuuk

On March 29, 2015 Typhoon Maysak hit the islands of Chuuk.

We have not heard from Jeff yet. President Zarbock reported to the missionary parents the following day that all the missionaries were accounted for and safe.

We are hoping to hear from Jeff soon!

In the meantime...

Below are some descriptions and news posted by some of the missionaries on the islands:

Weather image showing Typhoon Maysak right over Chuuk.

The island of Weno is about 5 miles long. The airport is visible on the north shore of Weno.

Typhoon Maysak Notes from other Missionaries

Elder Bloxham provided the following information:
The outer islands were hit pretty hard. From what I saw in Weno, I can only imagine what the other islands look like. All elder's were still on their islands when the typhoon hit. Elder Hunter and few others who's houses were destroyed came in on Tuesday. The plan was to get everyone in Weno in the next few days.

The Udot and Pata homes were destroyed so those elders went to Romanum for a few days then were brought to Moen. Elder White and Maughan I think are in a tri with Elder Heim. They could be in Mechitiw now.

Romanum was not destroyed, sorry if my last post made it sound that way. Romanum is where the elders were sent who's homes were destroyed until the zone leaders could come get them on Tuesday. I know the elders in Udot and Pata lost a lot of stuff, if the house has open windows it is very possible lots of stuff got wet. That was the case with the Mechitiw house.

The Mechitiw home is still standing. The roof started to come up and lots of water and debris got inside but it's fine. the missionary house and the church in Mechitiw were some of the only structures still standing in that area. The members are living in the church now.

As of Tuesday the plan was to get all outer islands in Weno in the next day. I am not sure if that was suppose to be long term or not however. If their home is ok, they may have just been coming in to get food and water and then head back out to help on their islands.

We had heard from local's the day before that a typhoon was coming, but saturday night the baptist radio was saying the typhoon was not going to hit chuuk. we were not notified from the church (zone leaders) until the first part of the storm was already starting to hit. They texted everyone and told us to stay in our houses. Luckily, the worst of the storm didn't hit until after the eye went through, so everyone was expecting it at that point.

Sister Eliason posted this on FaceBook
I just wanted to post a note about the recent (March 29, 2015)typhoon in Chuuk. We didn’t know it was coming until Sunday morning when it was very rainy and windy. So we looked online and saw the satellite view of the storm coming directly onto Chuuk. Shortly after than we lost electrical power.

The storm raged for about two hours and then subsided. We watched our neighbor’s corrugated metal roof flap up and down even though it was tied on. We saw trees down. When it got calm again people were out picking mangoes from the trees on the ground. It was calm for about 1 ½ hours and we began to think the storm was over. However, it picked up again and quickly become much stronger than before. It was coming from the opposite direction. Pieces of corrugated metal were flying around. There was noise from all the wind. It was frightening.

We were in a cement apartment building. All over the islands people took refuge in cement buildings such as schools, churches. Many houses are made of wood and corrugated metal and many of these were blown away or flattened.

One of the long term effects of the typhoon was loss of electric power. Without electric power there is no running water because they need electricity to pump the water. There is no internet or way to communicate. Cell phones began to work within a day. Many businesses and apartment complexes here have generators. We had generator power most of this week for a few hours each day. Two nights ago we got full power again, but it occasionally goes off. We still don’t have internet, although some people do. Many places still don’t have electricity.

The missionaries are all safe. Two apartments were destroyed but those missionaries have been brought to Weno. They have been working hard to help clear the roads and check on the members. Yesterday we spent many hours in a crowded Laundromat with a group of missionaries washing clothes since it was the first day the laundry was open. People all over the island had all their belonging rain drenched.

I understand that 95% of the homes were destroyed. Even some of the concrete homes lost their roofs or a wall collapsed. The news indicated that 5 people died.

One of the greatest losses was the native food. Banana trees, coconut trees, mango trees (loaded with fruit), breadfruit trees are down. The mountainside looks quite devastated. Even the trees that did not fall down have lost many of their leaves and fruit. Many of the people here depend on this native food. It will take a long time for the vegetation to recover and supply the food they are accustomed to. Some boats were also damaged so this may affect the fishing.

I have been amazed at the resilience of the people. They seem to go on and rejoice in what they do have. We see many out cleaning up and fixing up. For many of them, things like electricity were not a part of their daily life even before the storm. There are many also who are devastated. But the Lord is in charge. Families and friends help each other. Flowers will bloom again. Bananas and breadfruit will grow again. We see children out playing again, and life goes on.

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