By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER
HONOLULU (AP) - President Barack Obama has declared the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands a disaster area and is ordering federal aid to help the U.S. territory in the aftermath of a typhoon.
The White House on Thursday announced the disaster declaration for Typhoon Soudelor, which struck the island of Saipan over the weekend with wind speeds between 100 mph and 120 mph.
The commonwealth remains without electricity and water. Residents are rationing fuel.
Resident Glen Hunter says the storm destroyed homes and snapped wooden electricity poles. He says most major roadways have been cleared of toppled trees and debris.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says damage surveys are continuing. The Red Cross says more than 500 people on Saipan were in shelters.