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Thousands of tourists stranded in Guam after Typhoon Mawar

May 26, 2023 - 15:32 By Lee Jung-youn
Korean tourists are gathered in a hotel banquet room, awaiting extra rooms after Typhoon Mawar hit the island, Thursday. (Yonhap)

After Typhoon Mawar battered Guam on Wednesday night into early Thursday morning, about 3,200 Korean tourists have been left stranded on the island suffering a series of power outages and water shortages.

Local authorities began restoring facilities after the typhoon left Friday, but airport facilities are expected to take several days to resume operations, which will prolong the damage to stranded tourists. Most of the tourists are reported to be staying at their hotels.

Guam authorities said on their website Thursday afternoon, "No flights are currently in service. Guam International Airport is under emergency coordination and is in the process of restoration."

No human damages were reported, as everyone stayed indoors at the time of the typhoon, according to a warning advisory issued by local authorities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Although the airport's website said it was aiming for resumption of flights on June 1, "the head of the Guam International Airport said they are accelerating the restoration process aiming for resuming services from May 30," a senior official of the Foreign Affairs Ministry said at a closed-door briefing Friday.

The ministry added that it will continue information on the situation through text messages for tourists who have not seen the embassy notice due to poor local internet conditions. “We are discussing with telecommunications companies and looking for ways to deliver notices to tourists' phones by text,” added the official.

Typhoon Mawar, which hit Guam from Wednesday to Thursday, was recorded as the strongest typhoon in decades to approach Guam. Gusts of wind of more than 241 kilometers per hour caused power outages in a wide range of areas due to the collapse of electricity poles and wires, and water and sewage facilities have also stopped operating due to power outages, cutting off water supplies to many residences and hotels. After passing Guam into open ocean, it strengthened to a super typhoon.