FEMA to homeowners: Stay committed to the program

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Posted on Dec 12 2019

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Federal Emergency Management Agency regional administrator Robert Fenton, third from left, and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, fourth from left, led the ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday in Kagman to highlight the third home repaired under the CNMI-FEMA Permanent Home Construction Repair Program. (IVA MAURIN)

As the Federal Emergency Management Agency completes its third permanent construction repair in the CNMI, FEMA regional administrator Robert Fenton appeals to homeowners who participated to stay committed to the program.

“Recovery is never easy, but we are in this together,” Fenton said, assuring the FEMA participants of the federal agency’s commitment to helping CNMI homeowners rebuild more resilient homes that could withstand future storms.

FEMA assures that they are focused on doing the permanent housing construction repairs for 148 household participants, and housing construction for another 178 participants.

“Do not pass up this opportunity, stay committed to this because you are going to end up with a much more hardened, stronger structure than you ever had before, built by engineering firms to withstand the winds,” Fenton said.

“If you look at this over a 30-year period, I guarantee you that we will see more storms in the future. And we’ll see more devastating storms, unfortunately, that will hit the CNMI,” he said.

Despite the challenges, which include getting materials to the islands and doing the design and engineering to make sure that the homes would survive the next storms, the FEMA project is moving forward with 30 more houses currently being repaired, and the first house that’s due to be built by FEMA already scheduled to start work next week.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who asked for this FEMA program, has nothing but gratitude for the work that FEMA has been doing for the CNMI.

“I can’t stress how appreciative our community is, especially those homes that are being built by our volunteers and those construction companies and the effort that FEMA has worked on,” Torres said. “We are blessed. Considering there’s so much more natural disasters throughout the nation, but yet our priorities here are never given [short shrift].”

Yesterday, the Office of the Governor and FEMA held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Kagman to highlight the third home repaired under the CNMI-FEMA Permanent Home Construction Repair Program.

The Permanent Housing Construction program is offered in insular areas outside the continental United States where alternative housing resources are unavailable or scarce, where repairs are neither feasible nor cost-effective.

Iva Maurin | Author
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com

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