A month into disaster response, FEMA continues to focus on power restoration
Residents who suffered destruction and losses due to Typhoon Soudelor have less than a month to apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Local and federal officials are urging those who still need to register to do so before the deadline on Oct. 5.
“The Oct. 5 deadline is coming up quickly. If you know someone who was affected by Typhoon Soudelor, please encourage them to take a few minutes to register with FEMA and learn how we can help them,” federal coordinating officer Stephen M. DeBlasio Sr. said
“We don’t want anyone with disaster damage to miss this opportunity for assistance. Register, get into the FEMA system, and let’s find out what you are eligible for,” said Gov. Eloy S. Inos.
FEMA also reminded the public of the new operating hours of their Disaster Recovery Center at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe.
Starting yesterday, DRC will now be closed on Sundays. It will be open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm and Saturdays from 8am to noon.
Today, Labor Day, the DRC will be open from 10am to 2pm.
However, the toll-free helpline, 1-800-621-3362, will remain available 24 hours, seven days a week.
Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repair, and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other sources.
Focus on power
A month into FEMA’s response on Saipan, DeBlasio said their focus is to continue the restoration of power.
“It’s all about getting the entire grid back up and operational. My focus is on making sure telephone poles continue to come in, all of the hardware needed continue to come in, the linemen are available to do the work and we get the power plant fixed and ready to generate power,” DeBlasio said.
He added that there is capacity at the power plant that is not even being utilized yet.
“That’s why as we build the infrastructure, we’re able to energize those lines because there is capacity there right now that’s ready for CUC to push out,” DeBlasio said.
Aside from power, FEMA is also focusing on providing continued help to the individuals who have been displaced from their homes with rental assistance and repair and replacement money, other needs assistance, and SBA loans as necessary.
Beyond Oct. 5, DeBlasio said they will continue to serve those who registered for individual assistance as well as continuing with their public assistance, which includes the reimbursement for the cost incurred by the CNMI government.
He added that they are already looking at the projects applied for by various government departments.
“The projects have to be done because that is a reimbursement program. They do the work, they submit invoices to us, validate that the work was done, that it was eligible work, and then we reimburse. So that will go on, will continue for years if necessary,” DeBlasio said.
As of Saturday, 2,457 individual assistance of the around 8,000 who registered for individual assistance were already approved.
More than $9.6 million has been approved for housing assistance while more than $3.9 million was approved for the other needs assistance, bringing the total to $13,681,555.27 for FEMA’s individual and households program.