Vic C.



In October 2018, Super Typhoon Yutu hit Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, causing catastrophic damage to the island.

Rebuilding after Yutu wasn’t so bad. FEMA offered assistance in terms of low interest disaster loans which I was able to qualify for and use to repair the damages to my garage. There really wasn’t much damage to our home as it is fully concrete. Other than water being pushed into our house by the winds, everything else was fine. The biggest issue we had was we couldn’t go anywhere. Power poles were piled all over the streets in front of our house and neighborhood. For 2 days we were outside chopping up power poles and clearing what we could for vehicles to pass in case there was an emergency that needed evacuation. By day 3, assistance from the Mayor’s office and other agencies started pouring in and helping to clear the streets.

Our village looked like a war zone that you would see in movies. No leaves on any of the trees and nothing but debris everywhere. It took us a long time to get through the cleaning and I think the hardest part was helping neighbors who had lost their entire home. Any wood structure that used to stand was absolutely demolished. I remember helping a neighbor go through his stuff and the only thing left standing on his property was the toilet bowl. The entire house was blown away down to the foundation.

In my neighborhood, we pretty much keep to ourselves. We don’t really socialize much. However, after the typhoon was over, we were all checking in on each other to make sure everyone was okay. We got to work helping each other out clear the road, clean up debris and gather belongings that were scattered by the wind. It was only 3 years since the last super typhoon and the one phrase that kept running through our minds was Marianas Strong, together we are strong!

As a farmer, natural disasters are expected and when they hit, you simply restart whatever was damaged or destroyed. It’s not anything new for me. As a father, ensuring the safety of my family becomes top priority prior to the storm and during the storm. Accounting for any and all damages after the storm comes last. We can rebuild, regrow, and regain anything we lost during the storm except for life. I think that’s the one thing all islanders here in the Marianas have in common, make sure you and your family are safe, and then clean up, and begin again. I think the hardest part will always be the lack of conveniences after a storm like power and water, but those issues are miniscule compared to ensuring one’s safety. We are Marianas Strong.