10 more homes until full recovery

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The Commonwealth Advocates for Recovery Efforts will soon complete repair work on the remaining homes that were destroyed by Typhoon Soudelor 30 months ago.

A little over 10 homes remain until CARE’s recovery work is complete.

In total, CARE has assisted over 200 families with typhoon-related needs. About 85 families received some form of labor assistance and the rest received materials or relief goods.

Typhoon Soudelor hit the CNMI in August 2015.

During CARE’s Repair and Rebuild celebration last Saturday at the Garapan Central Park, CARE executive director Maxine Laszlo said CARE’s recovery efforts did not only entail home reconstruction but also included the donation of materials needed by families to get back on their feet after Typhoon Soudelor.

“There were a lot of different services that we were able to offer. There were some families that received labor and materials, some just received materials, and some that received other good that they needed at that time,” she said.

Laszlo said that 75 of the 85 families who received labor assistance received assistance from volunteer labor groups; the Mennonites Disaster Services was responsible for 58 of those cases.

Since arriving on Saipan back in 2016, the Mennonites successfully repaired 58 homes and will finally be heading home after two years of recovery efforts.

The remaining families will still receive assistance, thanks to the support of various organizations and agencies.

Laszlo said she is extremely relieved that CARE will have successfully served its purpose by June.

“I’m not sad that the program is ending. That means all the families got helped…we’re ending on such a positive note…it would have been a lot worse if we did not get that support from the community,” she said. “We’re not ending because we ran out of money, we’re ending because we ran out of families to help.”

During the celebration last Saturday at the Garapan Central Park, CARE board chair Alex Sablan said the celebration recognizes all the different agencies, both within the CNMI and from the U.S. mainland, who joined CARE in its mission to rebuild the CNMI after the destruction wrought by Typhoon Soudelor.

Although the CARE program will end in June, that does not mean it will become non-existent. If disaster were to strike the CNMI again, an action plan has been established to bring back CARE, he assured.

“If there is a disaster way down the road, someone will be able to pick up this manual for CARE and restart CARE from the ground up…there would be a plan of action on how to get everyone organized and get this group back into play,” he said.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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