CNMI awarded $308M to recover from Yutu, Mangkhut; $40.8M for COVID-19

Patrick Guerrero says $77.5 million more for hazard mitigation projects related to 3 typhoons, COVID

The CNMI has been awarded a combined $308 million to recover from the 2018 Super Typhoon Yutu and Typhoon Mangkhut, and $40.8 million for the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Patrick Guerrero of the Public Assistance Office.

Speaking at an informal meeting yesterday with members of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee in the House chamber, Guerrero, who is also the Governor’s Authorized Representative for COVID-19, also disclosed that the CNMI also received under his watch $77.5 million for hazard mitigation projects related to Super Typhoons Soudelor and Yutu, Typhoon Mangkhut, and COVID-19.

Ways and Means Committee vice chair Rep. Corina L. Magofna (Ind-Saipan) called for the “informal meeting” with Guerrero to obtain a status update from the Public Assistance Office regarding projects and reimbursement related to Mangkhut and Yutu.

For the $77.5-million hazard mitigation grant program, Guerrero said that some of that amount has already been awarded, and some are still being reviewed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“But at the end of the day, that will be added to the…I guess…federally funded projects under disaster recovery,” Guerrero said.
He said the CNMI has been awarded $308 million for the two disasters: $302 million via the Super Typhoon Yutu declaration, and $6.7 million for Typhoon Mangkhut.

With respect to COVID-19, of the $40.8 million awarded, there are still about $22.5 million pending obligation they hope to receive in the next 30 days, Guerrero said.

He said an additional $20 million is pending FEMA’S review. “That brings it up to around $85 million if my math is correct,” Guerrero said.

He said that, overall, based on Public Assistance Office information received from Homeland Security for reimbursements related to COVID, their tracking is that they’re just below the $100-million mark in expenses.

“What we do is we track actual costs versus contracts,” Guerrero said.
He said they still have a lot of accounting to do with the obligation of contracts.

Guerrero said as they close out before the end of this year, they still look forward to receiving about $7.2 million that will go to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. in the form of reimbursement for actual costs that they incurred in response to Super Typhoon Soudelor in 2015.
For Super Typhoon Yutu, CUC alone is expecting about another $15 million to be awarded to it, he added. Guerrero said this would cover labor and equipment that CUC used during the disaster recovery period.
He said they have not received those reimbursement requests yet from CUC, but they were getting ready to submit those.

Guerrero said Homeland Security is also doing the final reconciliation on their emergency work for Yutu to get $4 million in reimbursement.
He said they still have a couple of projects to close out from seven years ago, from the 2015 Super Typhoon Soudelor disaster.

“Not much. But we should be closing this disaster,…before the end of this year,” Guerrero said.

He noted that the average for states and territories to close out a disaster is about seven to eight years. “Yutu might take us around that timeline, just because it was a very large event for us as well. But most of the work we’re focusing on these days are those two disasters—Mangkhut and Yutu,” Guerrero said.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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