The powerful effects of Super Typhoon Yutu are like none other in recent memory. It is impossible to see the most damaged areas without feeling great sadness at the extent of the damage and the hardship visited upon the people who live there.
Our only response must be to bring immediate relief to people by way of providing the essentials, water, food, shelter, power, and the resources to rebuild.
And for that we owe thanks to our neighbors, the cooperation of strangers, and the tireless work of many organizations, including the mayor of Saipan and his crew, who appeared immediately after the storm to clear the main roads so relief operations could begin. Our thanks also goes to the U.S. military who have surveyed our ports and committed the resources needed to replace or repair vital equipment needed to start relief efforts on a large scale and reboot commercial activities that will also support the recovery. Few agencies in the world have the resources and organization to provide relief after a disaster of this kind and we are fortunate to have the support of all the branches of the U.S. military.
Federal Emergency Management Agency generators are being installed at water wells so water can be pumped to homes with some regularity. Huge shipments of poles are on the way along with electrical crews to support our Commonwealth Utilities Corp. employees to begin the long and difficult job of restoring our power grid. FEMA and local officials are working to address temporary housing arrangements with interim, emergency structures to give people shelter against the weather. The American Red Cross and FEMA have begun their assessments, and have distributed emergency rations but the assessments are crucial to rebuilding and that will take time as it requires house-to-house surveys so patience and cooperation is asked of all of us.
Tinian, as the hardworking mayor of Tinian reported recently, is working with his municipal officials alongside federal agencies and the U.S. military to restore services to the people of Tinian. As the mayor of Tinian’s recent letter also reminded us, it is important in this recovery period that the public be provided accurate information on which to plan. Rumors and inaccurate information are not helpful to the recovery process. As much as we might wish to rush the good news it is no good if the promises are not met.
Our government officials, the governor and his Cabinet are also working around the clock with our federal agencies to provide relief as quickly as possible. Our congressional representative is working with the governor to ensure that federal agencies can focus badly needed resources on the recovery efforts here in the CNMI. Local businesses have stepped up to provide relief to employees and members of the communities in which they are located.
This is going to be a long process so patience and understanding are needed to speed up the recovery for all. Some local business leaders have said recently, the people of the Commonwealth are strong and resilient.
Our hearts go out to everyone who is suffering from the storm and our thoughts and actions are committed to finding ways to lessen the burden for you.
Juan S. “Santiago” Tenorio
Airport Road, Dandan