Mon. Dec 9th, 2019

Sonsorol State Islands Hit Hard by Strong Winds and High Surf

 

This past Tuesday residents of Sonsorol State reported they were being overcome by strong southwesterly winds, smothered by heavy rains and crushed by raging high surfs.

On Thursday, islanders reported severe damage as follows: [restrict]

  • Sonsorol Island – 9 out of 13 residential homes had roof damage; one house approximately 50 meters from the shore was inundated by high surf and the family was forced to evacuate their home; 3 homes lost their kitchen house; one house lost its solar panels when the strong winds crushed them to the ground.
  • Pulo Anna Island – 3 out of 10 homes had roof damage.
  • Merir Island – 2 out 3 homes had part of their roofs dislodged.
  • Fanna Island – high surf washed out under the house that was approximately 100 yards inland; hundreds and hundreds of bird nests were blown out of trees and others inundated and swept away by the raging high surf. Fanna is an internationally recognized Important Bird Area (IBA).

Fortunately there were no human casualties. However, all the islands experienced raging high surf. Estimated 50 yards of shorelines were washed out; clearing out all shoreline trees and vegetation on the western side of the four islands. The strong winds felled more than 50 percent of banana crops and papaya trees. These are important daily diet crops for the island residents.

These were reported by radio to the Sonsorol State Office located in Koror. The true extent of damage needs to be assessed. The islands are so remote a ship or a helicopter would be the only means to do an immediate assessment. Sonsorol State Government is seeking help from the National Government for damage assessment and for assistance to the island residents. [/restrict]