Administration extends appreciation to FEMA, fed counterparts


As the CNMI enters the Christmas and New Year’s season, acting governor Ralph DLG Torres, speaking on behalf of Gov. Eloy S. Inos, extended the administration’s profound appreciation to President Obama through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal counterparts. Today marks the official demobilization of operations after five months working with state officials and voluntary organizations coordinating the recovery and rebuilding efforts after Typhoon Soudelor destroyed homes and crippled infrastructures. The following is Torres’ appreciation message to FEMA and the other federal counterparts who assisted CNMI in its time of most need:

“Five months ago, on a dark Sunday evening, our islands bore the brunt of one of this year’s strongest storms and the strongest typhoon to hit us in nearly half a century. After that night, the name Soudelor would forever be tied to the sight of destruction and devastation on Saipan. As the severity of the destruction was fully realized, we had to struggle with the reality of long-term utility and water outages, long lines at supermarkets and fuel stations, and other hardships in obtaining basic necessities.

“Fast forward to the present day, we see significant improvements in our rebuilding efforts. Most of our power and water have been restored. Residents now prepare better for disasters without waiting for the last minute, and our streets, our tourist sites, and our villages have been cleared of large debris. And, most importantly, most homes that were damaged and destroyed are being rebuilt and repaired slowly in all the villages.

“The road to recovery was one of the biggest undertakings and everyone participated from volunteers, friends, family, and government agencies. Various government agencies and non-governmental organizations pooled together their collective expertise to bring relief supplies and sweep the island clear of debris, raise utility poles that were knocked down, and energize each home one by one.

“We did not recover and rebuild on our own. Timely assistance from partners near and far greatly helped us in the path back to normalcy. Recovery would have been harder had it not been with the assistance of President Obama through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and all the federal agencies involved. Governor Inos and I are truly humbled by the help that

“FEMA Coordinating Officer Mr. Stephen DeBlasio and his team have accomplished together with our local officials in addressing critical areas that needed to be met, and coming up with solutions that lightened our burden as an island.

“They worked hard in ensuring that our people would not only be able to rebuild from the disaster, but be able to withstand future calamities. More importantly, the biggest contribution they have provided us that cannot be quantified in monetary terms is boosting our morale to withstand the devastation, recover, and rebuild. To be compassionate in service is a motto recited every morning by the FEMA team. They have exemplified that in their service to our people.

“To Mr. Stephen DeBlasio and the FEMA team, the Army Corps of Engineers, Navy, Marines, U.S. Coast Guard, SBA, NGO’s, and other federal partners not mentioned, we are truly grateful for your selflessness in pulling us out from this dark period of our history. We are blessed that through your collective expertise, we are better prepared for future disasters. As we say [on] the islands, ‘It means a lot to give a little,’ and you have given us more than we could have asked for. You have given us assurance for the future, ideas to keep us better prepared, and tools that will readily be available when needed. Without a doubt, we will be forever indebted for the sacrifice you made for our people. You are more than just counterparts, you are family.

“As much as we have taken a part of you to guide us in the days ahead, we hope you have also taken a part of us with you as you transition back to your other duties back home. Though this is goodbye for now, we would rather say to you ‘Asta ki,’ which literally translates to ‘Until next time.’

“Godspeed to all of you and may you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s season with your loved ones. From a grateful Commonwealth, si yu’os ma’åse, olomwaay, and thank you very much.”

FEMA’s Joint Field Office will officially close at the end of the day today. However, for additional assistance, DeBlasio urges the community to follow up on their status by calling 1-800-621-3362 or by checking (Office of the Lieutenant Governor)

Press Release
News under Press Release are official statements issued to Saipan Tribune giving information on a particular matter.

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