Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

International Community Responds To Chuuk's Tragedy

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): July 11, 2002 - The international community is responding to the tragedy in Chuuk, which resulted from Tropical Storm Chata'an's rampage in the Micronesia region earlier this month.

The storm had devastated the lagoon islands of Weno, Fefan, Tonoas, Udot and Uman with more than 30 landslides, most of which claimed several lives - some still unaccounted for - and injured many more.

The official number reported for accounted bodies has now reached 46, with over 100 people listed as injured. An accurate count of missing persons has not been recorded since the homes buried under the mud are still inaccessible.

Chhuk has appealed to the neighboring Northern Mariana Islands for bull-dozers, an excavator and other heavy machinery to assist in the excavation of the homes, considering the state's own machineries are not adequately equipped to perform the heavy task. The local Civic Action Team has some of the needed equipment, but is not able to provide the assistance because of a landslide that destroyed the road leading to the team's campsite.

While awaiting assistance for the excavations, relief assistance in the form of medical supplies, basic necessities, household items, manpower and food continues to pour in from domestic and foreign resources.

Throughout the Federated States of Micronesia, the citizens and non-governmental organizations, religious and various indigenous groups have also donated food and other household items. This assistance is being distributed to the over 1,000 displaced families living in emergency makeshift shelters in schools and various municipal offices.

The Micronesian Red Cross Society was one of the first organizations to mobilize its team and provide relief supplies to the victims of the storm. The assistance includes emergency packets of tarpaulins, blankets, water containers, cooking utensils and other basic disaster mitigation items.

Relief efforts and assistance continue to pour into the state from the Micronesian islands, the region and other international and domestic sources -- from governments, non-government organizations, community groups and private citizens alike.

After initial assessment of the aftermath of Tropical Storm Chata'an, over $10 million has been estimated as the damage cost to public and private properties -- an amount that was indicated as "over the financial capabilities of both the State of Chuuk and the FSM National Government to absorb."

On July 11, 2002, the FSM requested the assistance of the United States Government's Federal Emergency Management Agency in the following areas:

  • Preventive measures to control the outbreak of diseases;

  • Reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, including public roads, sewage and water systems, and other public facilities and properties, such as schools and government vessels;

  • Financial assistance for a six-month replanting project to replace the crops that were destroyed; and

  • A supplemental feeding program for the affected population.

The list of incoming aid and resources continue to grow as neighbors and friends in the regional and international community express their condolences.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356