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Joint military commands back Guam's recovery from typhoon

FEMA delivers the first prime power generator to the Port Authority of Guam. Photo courtesy of PAG

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Regional military commands have teamed up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist Guam's recovery from the devastation of typhoon Mawar, which landed on May 25. leaving most of the population still without power, water and internet service.

Military units forming Task Force West (TF-W) have been tasked with providing support through the mission assignment task order or MATO process, directed by FEMA. Currently, all service branches have units involved in recovery efforts.

TF-W is the joint military command task force organized to plan, coordinate,

support, and oversee the execution of the task order on Guam in response to typhoon Mawar.

"The purpose of the task force is to save lives, prevent human suffering, and mitigate property damage. FEMA provides TF-W with mission requirements," states a press release from the Joint Region Marianas.

In response to FEMA requirements, TF-W coordinates Joint Region Marianas,

Andersen Air Force Base, Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz, U.S. Naval Base Guam,

U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia Sector Guam, and the regional commands of U.S. Army Pacific and the Guam National Guard.

Recently completed missions include water, food, and commodity delivery to the 19 mayors' offices across the island, transporting generators to worksites and water tanks, and clearing roadway debris.

"I cannot be more proud of the energetic attitude, amazing work and

dedication to duty that I have seen and experienced firsthand as I visit the

MATO sites," said Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson, JRM commander and TF-W commanding officer.

"We are all working together as one island, one community, on our

way to a full recovery," Nicholson said. "I have spoken with service members

working across the island, and every service member involved in recovery

feels the same way - they just want to help out. We are ready to serve,

ready to support, wherever and whenever we are needed."

Joint Task Force West Commander Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson visits Airmen with the 36th Air Wing as they deliver Federal Emergency Management Agency food and water to the mayor’s office of Yona, Guam June 3, 2023. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Brandenburg

Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers made a visit to the Port Authority of Guam on Sunday to assess damage to its prime power generators from typhoon Mawar. Four of the Port’s 5 generators suffered water and salt spray damage to its electrical units.

Post officials said Gantry 5 was taken offline at 2:30 a.m. due to a worn-out fan belt that caused the engine to overheat. Gantry 5 was cooled down, fixed within six hours and returned to operations at 8:30 a.m.

“All joint troubleshooting with ABB through teleconference has been done to repair trolley motor communication but further diagnosis is needed,” said Rory Respicio, general manager of the port. “As part of the port’s performance management contract with Matson, an ABB engineer was flown in from off-island and will be reporting tomorrow morning to assist in getting Gantry 4 operational.”

Port officials said the discharge of Guam-bound cargo from the Maunakai has been completed with 327 local containers (73 reefers) and 109 transshipment (45 reefers) containers.

As of press time, operations are taking place to load back 459 containers. MSA’s Barge S-2011 is awaiting to dock upon completion of the Maunakai.

Port officials said a total of 192 reefers and 907 containers with dry goods have been released into the community since reopening the port on May 29. A total of 740 bundles of rebar, 2 boxed steel pipes, 35 bundle steel plates and 156 vehicles have been processed by the Port Authority of Guam.

Fuel operations continue with Ambyth’s Epic St. Kitts discharging the second half of liquefied petroleum gas for the community, the port authority said.

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