The CNMI will be receiving additional federal assistance following President Donald J. Trump’s approval of the local government’s request to declare the Commonwealth a major disaster area.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres announced Sunday that Trump approved his second letter to the White House dated Sept. 20 that asked Trump for a major disaster declaration for the CNMI after the devastation of Typhoon Mangkhut.
Under the White House declaration, the CNMI would receive accelerated federal assistance for disaster relief, technical assistance, and public health and safety.
This also means that Individual Assistance (for individuals and households) and Public Assistance (for emergency work and repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities) will be provided for Rota, Saipan, and Tinian.
Hazard mitigation will also be provided for those affected by Typhoon Mangkhut on Rota, Saipan, and Tinian. The program will be provided to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural disasters.
Torres said all three islands, particularly Rota, suffered major or minor damage in public facilities, homes, and other properties based on the damage assessment report done by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross-NMI Chapter.
“The joint preliminary damage assessment for public facilities estimates the extent of the damage will exceed $3.3 million on Rota, Saipan, and Tinian. Most importantly, after conducting a damage assessment with FEMA and the Red Cross, we saw that many homes and property were damaged or affected on all three islands, particularly Rota. Our IA and PA requests were approved to address these critical needs.”
The Legislature, through House Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan), also allocated $1 million from a $20.8 million appropriations bill (House Bill 20-187 HD2) for Rota’s recovery efforts.
“The Legislature has also committed $1 million in typhoon recovery. These funds will help address possible shortfalls for residents who may not be eligible for IA and need direct housing assistance. I thank[the] Legislature…for being proactive in authoring the bill, so that everyone who was affected receives the help they need.”
He thanked Trump and other White House officials, along with FEMA and their federal partners, for all the help. “The Legislature and everyone in our community, from the first responders to our volunteers to the many people who came out to donate for Ayuda Luta. Our islands are resilient. We will not stop until every person affected is back to normalcy,” Torres said.