The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that it will take until late 2022 for the agency to complete the entire housing program for survivors of Super Typhoon Yutu’s October 2018 devastation on Saipan and Tinian.
“We’re almost halfway with the construction,” according to FEMA Recovery Office director Sheryl Cochran in an interview during a news briefing on FEMA’s approval of an $88.73 million Community Disaster Loan for the CNMI last Monday.
Cochran said that FEMA has obligated a total of $279 million to the CNMI for public assistance and infrastructure projects for Yutu’s recovery. She said over $260 million is for individual assistance.
The director said 107 homes have already been returned to Yutu survivors, and that 20 of those are brand new homes and 87 are repaired properties.
“We are building 59 homes right now as we speak,” said Cochran, disclosing that she and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios frequently visit some of the sites and the ongoing construction.
She credits Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig, Governor’s authorized representative for Yutu Virginia Villagomez, and the rest of the CNMI’s team for helping make this recovery possible.
When asked for more details about the housing program, Cochran said for the repaired homes, they have returned 87 homes, and that seven of those are on Tinian and 80 are here on Saipan.
All 20 new construction homes that have been returned are here on Saipan. She said they have six under construction on Tinian right now and 52 that are under construction here on Saipan.
Cochran anticipates to turn over a new home on Tinian—one should be completed sometime early this summer.
“We shy away from dates because anything can happen in construction. A little too much rain or poor weather [causes] lots of complications. But we anticipate that that home will be delivered sometime early summer or early to mid-summer,” she said.