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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Survey on to help CNMI cope better with typhoons, disasters

At least 700 household members on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota will participate in a survey on responses to natural disasters in the CNMI.

Three visiting officials from Hawaii graced yesterday’s Rotary Club of Saipan meeting to spread the word about the upcoming survey, which starts this Saturday and runs for eight weeks.

University of Hawaii-Ma-noa’s School of Social Work dean Jon Matsuoka, Ethnic Studies professor Davianna McGregor, and Group 70 International chief community planner principal George I. Atta spoke briefly during the meeting.

McGregor said the Saipan leg of the survey begins this Saturday all the way up to Oct. 30, after which the survey will move to Rota and Tinian until the end of November. She said the group is collaborating with the Statistics Division of the Department of Commerce.

Atta said the study aims to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s core agencies in formulating a Geographic Information System to better manage populations in the event of a typhoon. He said the survey was designed to help formulate new tools that the federal office could use, such as a mass management system.

He said the survey would also enable local emergency responders to offer more effective assistance when disasters hit the islands.

The CNMI Emergency Management Office is spearheading the project in conjunction with the Honolulu District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Both UH School of Social Work and Department of Ethnic Studies developed the survey forms through a series of meetings held with the CNMI EMO leaders and other staff from local government agencies and some members of the community.

McGregor said the sampling for the survey is random and trained interviewers from the CNMI Central Statistics Division would begin the survey this Saturday.

“The survey asks residents about how and when they would decide to evacuate their homes during the onset of a tropical storm or typhoon,” said the group.

The group said the survey would also take information on tsunami related issues.

The group encouraged NMI residents to participate if they are asked for an interview. “The interviewers have been trained by the CNMI Central Statistics Division, and are sworn to keep answers confidential,” the group said.

For more information about the survey, contact EMO at 322-8001.

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