Before Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall in the Marianas and after reviewing preliminary forecasts of the storm’s impact on the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump requesting an emergency declaration for the CNMI.
“Pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Act Section 501 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. [Section] 5121-5207 (Stafford Act), and implemented by 44 CFR [Section] 206.35, I request that you declare an emergency for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in anticipation of an imminent impact of Typhoon Mangkhut…approaching the Mariana Islands (CNMI),” Torres wrote to the President in a letter dated Sept. 10, 2018.
The White House is now in receipt of the letter.
“The heightened and erratic state of the storm threatens such destruction and could become catastrophic. My request for the emergency declaration is to mobilize critical response resources into the Commonwealth given our location and the time and distance from the [U.S.] mainland,” Torres noted.
As of press time, the worst conditions of Typhoon Mangkhut has passed the Commonwealth, but windshield assessments indicate significant damage on the island of Rota because of the storm’s direct path and some damage on Saipan and Tinian.
“I have determined this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the Commonwealth government and supplemental federal assistance is necessary to save lives and to protect property, public health and safety, and to lessen the effects of this imminent catastrophe,” Torres wrote.
Torres’ request prioritizes the protection of residential property, public health and safety, mass care and sheltering commodities, and power generation.
“Over the past four days, the Office of the Governor with the CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, has been in constant contact with [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] and several federal coordinating officers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Defense, and the White House.”
“I want to thank special assistant for management and budget Virginia Villagomez, who is leading our federal requests as my authorized representative, special assistant for homeland security and emergency management Gerald J. Deleon Guerrero, and our White House liaison Jason Osborne for the ongoing coordination.”
“Our islands truly are resilient, and the lessons learned from Typhoon Soudelor made us a much stronger community and a more responsive government. With this storm, we are really making every effort to be proactive and ensure that federal and local resources are dedicated to bringing everyone back to normalcy as soon as possible,” Torres said. (PR)