48 families still waiting for help to rebuild homes
Nearly two years after Typhoon Soudelor hit the CNMI in August 2015, a total of 48 families comprising 177 individuals are still waiting for help to rebuild their homes.
In order to do that, the group that has taken the lead in the rebuilding efforts, the Commonwealth Advocates for Recovery Efforts, would need $650,000.
CARE executive director Jenny Hegland told the House of Representatives last Tuesday that the group has already assisted 745 residents all over Saipan that needed either building materials or labor but the group still needs $650,000 for the rest.
Since its creation back in 2015, CARE has raised $2.4 million to help families rebuild their homes.
Partnering with the American Red Cross, CARE has identified 48 families that are deemed to have “major needs of repair.”
“Without funding from the [Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation], we have nowhere else because we have done our search of resources already,” said Janet Santos, American Red Cross-NMI Chapter supervisor for disaster case management.
According to Hegland, if CARE is able to raise the $650,000, it could leverage the funding to secure $2.1 million in additional funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The $2.1 million would be used to finance the airfare of the Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers, among others, who have been helping with the rebuilding efforts.
“[The lawmakers] responded extremely positively because their comments indicated that they really saw the value in their constituents,” said Hegland. “They really understand the importance of resilient housing in our community.”
Rep. Ed Propst (Ind-Saipan) was thankful to the organization for assisting.
“The $650,000 [CARE] is asking for is a small price to pay, especially if you look at it percentage-wise,” he said, adding that the body would find the means to “find the funding for it.”
“We have the Mennonites out here, federal government support, and different private organizations that have contributed. We have to do our share,” said Propst, adding that it was merely a matter of finding the funding to support the group.