IN FEMA’S HOUSING PROGRAM FOR YUTU SURVIVORS
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has created a large team that manages quality assurance in its housing program for survivors of Super Typhoon Yutu on Saipan and Tinian, according to FEMA’s Region IX Recovery Office director Sheryl Cochran.
Speaking at a radio news briefing last Friday, Cochran said they have high expectations of their contractors and hold them to those expectations, “especially when it’s something as personal as building someone’s home. I don’t believe it ever gets any more personal than building someone’s home.”
Yutu hit the CNMI in October 2018, causing massive destruction on Saipan and Tinian. FEMA has stepped in to help individuals to repair damaged homes and in, some cases, building brand new houses for qualified residents.
Cochran said they expect absolute perfection from their contractors and that it’s not an exaggeration.
“We have some of the best [quality assurance] people. And because they stay as diligent, they’re there visiting the sites every day, sometimes two or three times a day,” she said.
Cochran revealed that the QA people are doing all of the critical elements anytime concrete is being poured. She said she has two or three people monitoring to ensure that the concrete is “absolutely perfect.” They are doing this, she said, to make sure that the concrete is as great as they can get for the safety of these individuals.
As far as timelines to complete the project is concerned, Cochran said they have some anticipated timelines in their head and that they have stretched those. “Because the contractors came back and said, ‘Hey, this is not going to be executable for us.’ But let’s work together and find out what is executable and reasonable,” she said.
Cochran said they made those modifications to the program and that the contractors have been delivering.
She said the cohesive partnership with the contractors, the constant support from the CNMI administration team, as well as FEMA, help make the program works. “And we are really not seeing homes delayed unless there are significant site challenges. We do have a couple of those,” she added.