Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang hopes the Department of Public Works and the Marianas Visitors Authority would revisit the planned Garapan revitalization program in order to avoid floods in the area in the future.
Since Monday morning, Typhoon Cimaron dumped at least 8 inches of rain on Saipan, causing floods in many areas on the island, including Coral Tree Avenue, the road in front of the ongoing construction site of the Imperial Pacific Resort in the Garapan tourist district.
“They need to do some assessment since it wasn’t like that before. Somebody needs to look into that. DPW needs to check it out and make sure everything is taken care off before the next storm hits us,” Apatang told Saipan Tribune. “As far as the one in front of [Imperial Pacific], DPW needs to look into that. The design there was done, I guess, by DPW. Whoever approved the design, somebody needs to look into that. It was never like that before.”
Apatang said the revitalization program should be studied carefully and be implemented, especially now that foot and vehicular traffic in the area has increased.
The area contains many hotels, restaurants, and other business establishments.
Apatang said the drainage system in the area could have been clogged up by the many hotels and business establishments that have been operating in the area, in addition to the ongoing construction of Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s hotel.
“Maybe the drainage got clogged up. It was really bad. It has a big drainage there that goes straight to the ocean. I don’t know what happened. If it’s blocked, clogged up, or the waterway was closed,” he said.
Apatang said businesses near the flooded areas were affected after Coral Tree Avenue was submerged in almost knee-deep floodwater. “It [the road] was really bad. You can’t pass through there. The road in front of Fiesta [Resort & Spa Saipan] was flooded.”
He added that their staff had been clearing debris from the area as early as 7am yesterday, especially in areas where floodwater had already subsided. “My people were out and cleaning around the island of any debris like tree branches that fell.
“I think we’re pretty much okay now. We used our equipment, a backhoe, to clean clogged up drainage systems,” added Apatang.