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HONOLULU, Hawaii (December 16, 1997 - PIDP/CPIS)---Typhoon Paka, which smashed northern Guam with wind gusts as high as 220 miles an hour Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, is being called one of the worst storms in the U.S. northwest Pacific territory’s history.

Although there were at least 17 injuries and scores of homes were destroyed, there are no reports of deaths.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are on the scene investigating the situation, and it is expected that Guam will be officially named a disaster area, eligible for federal assistance, by President Bill Clinton shortly.

Reports received in Honolulu at the Pacific Basin Development Council note that concrete power poles, thought to be typhoon proof, were blown down and litter island roadways, blocking traffic. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it is ready to provide assistance, if necessary.

Council Executive Director Jerry Norris says electric power is unavailable virtually everywhere, and it may take several weeks before it is restored to all of the island.

Initially labeled a super typhoon, Paka was downgraded to typhoon just before it hit Guam.

The storm now is weakening further, as it moves westerly away from the territory, located between the Federated States of Micronesia and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, at nine miles per hour.

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