GUAM – Super Typhoon Mawar, classified as a Category 4 storm with maximum wind speeds exceeding 66.9m per second, has pounded Guam relentlessly, causing significant damage and triggering emergency evacuation orders for local residents. In the aftermath of this destructive storm, approximately 3000 Korean travelers find themselves stranded on the island. With the closure of Guam’s airport and limited availability of accommodations, these tourists are facing numerous challenges.
The airport, heavily impacted by flooding, is scheduled to reopen on the 30th of this month after necessary repairs have been completed. However, until then, the stranded travelers must cope with the difficulties of their situation. Many are currently housed in local hotels, but the shortages and power outages in the area have strained resources, exacerbating the challenges faced by these tourists. Reports have emerged of hotels unwilling to extend accommodations, further compounding the predicament.
To alleviate the concerns of the stranded travelers, Guam authorities are working diligently to reopen the airport by the expected date. Repairs to the flooded runways are underway, and officials remain optimistic about resuming airport operations as quickly as possible.
However, communication difficulties have hampered coordination efforts, with local telecommunication services rendered inaccessible in certain areas. As an alternative, authorities are exploring options such as sending text messages to the tourists’ roaming mobile phones.
In response to the situation, major travel agencies have swiftly taken action to provide compensation and support to their stranded customers. Hana Tour, Modu Tour, Interpark, Yellow Balloon, and Good Travel, among others, have implemented various measures to address the inconveniences faced by the Korean tourists. Hana Tour, responsible for approximately 230 stranded tourists who departed on package trips to Guam and Saipan, will offer a consolation support fund of 100,000 won per night for affected travelers.
Similarly, Modu Tour, with around 160 stranded tourists, and Interpark, one of Korea’s largest online travel agencies, have announced full refunds for canceled flights and accommodations, along with additional compensation for the inconvenience caused. Yellow Balloon and Good Travel have also pledged to assist their stranded customers, offering alternative travel options, extended accommodations, and compensation for any additional expenses incurred.
The South Korean Embassy in Guam is actively engaged in providing assistance to the stranded travelers. Consular officials have been deployed to hotels where the Korean tourists are staying, offering support and guidance. The embassy has also established a dedicated hotline to address inquiries and provide updates on the situation.
Efforts are underway to ensure the well-being and safety of the stranded tourists. Local authorities, in collaboration with international relief organizations, are distributing essential supplies such as food, water, and medical provisions to the affected areas. Temporary shelters have been set up to provide a safe haven for those in need.
The Korean government is closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with Guam authorities to facilitate the safe return of its citizens. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dispatched a team to Guam to assist with the repatriation process and provide necessary support. Special flights and alternative travel arrangements are being organized to ensure the timely return of the stranded travelers.
In the face of this unexpected natural disaster, the resilience and solidarity of the affected Korean travelers have been evident. Many have expressed gratitude for the support they have received from fellow tourists, local residents, and the Korean community in Guam. Despite the challenges, efforts are being made to ensure their safety and eventual return home.
As recovery and restoration efforts continue in Guam, the focus remains on reopening the airport and restoring normalcy to the island. The Korean travelers, along with other stranded tourists, are eagerly awaiting the resumption of air travel to reunite with their loved ones and bring an end to their unexpected stay in Guam.
Super Typhoon Mawar has left a lasting impact on the island, but the spirit of resilience and assistance displayed during this challenging time serves as a testament to the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity. As the recovery process unfolds, efforts will continue to support and assist the stranded Korean travelers until they can safely return home.
By Jungchan Lee/Korea Travel News