FEMA prepares NMI to come up with recovery plan before disaster


Stephen M. DeBlasio Sr., Federal Emergency Management Agency Region 9 federal disaster recovery coordinator, discusses the National Disaster Recovery Framework during a workshop Thursday at the CNMI Emergency Operations Center on Capital Hill. (Ferdie de la Torre)  The Federal Emergency Management Agency has introduced to the CNMI the National Disaster Recovery Framework that President Obama signed and put into effect in September 2011.

FEMA officials have been going through all the states across the United States and its communities and territories so that people will understand what the Framework is all about.

Over 50 individuals from local governments, private sector, and non-profit and faith-based organizations participated in the workshop held Thursday at the CNMI Emergency Operations Center on Capital Hill.

Stephen M. DeBlasio Sr., FEMA Region 9 federal disaster recovery coordinator, served as the speaker at the workshop.

In an interview, DeBlasio said the United States has done a pretty good job of responding to natural and man-made disasters but President Obama was concerned that that there are too many gaps and challenges on the recovery side that are not being addressed.

He said this Framework basically commands all of the federal agencies to come to the table and partner with the Commonwealth, territories, and states of the U.S. to come up with a framework and structure that will lend itself to a smart recovery.

“A recovery that will rebuild in a way that we are more resilient, we’re more disaster-resistant. And we create a sustainable community that will be stronger and they will deal better with future disasters,” DeBlasio said.

This Framework, he said, is critical to the CNMI because the Commonwealth is similar to other areas in the country that are facing many challenges-tough economies and housing issues.

The FEMA official stressed that it is critical not only for the CNMI but also across the entire United States that federal agencies come to bring their programs to the table-whether it is funding or grant money or just technical expertise-to help develop a smart recovery plan.

“One of the most important things about this Framework.is planning for recovery before disasters,” he said.

DeBlasio and other FEMA officials are expected to return in January to follow up on the program. “This is just the beginning of what I view as a great partnership for the future,” he added.

CNMI Office of Homeland Security special adviser Marvin Seman said the workshop is primarily focused on preparation by having a Framework in response to after a disaster.

“In most events, emergency disaster response will take between a month or two, but the recovery phase can live up to years,” Seman said.

By Ferdie de la Torre

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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