A Methodist group that volunteers with the Federal Emergency Management Agency has come to help rebuild homes that were destroyed by Super Typhoon Yutu.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief, or UMCOR, not only helps FEMA rebuild homes but they are also making homes accessible and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The group is from the U.S. mainland and is currently led by Linda Wilson, who is on her second trip to the CNMI. She was here last April and also helped with the same project.
“We’re here because we saw that Saipan has a need and we help whatever we can,” Wilson said.
The group has also helped places such St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and numerous states that have seen major disasters.
This committee arrived in the CNMI last July 20 and will be staying until this Friday, with a new captain taking over.
She said that the group helps as soon as FEMA completes an assessment on a destroyed home and provides the go-signal to do so. FEMA also provides the needed materials for the group.
UNCOR brings in a committee every two weeks, with a new group taking over the previous group’s workload in a continuing process. The group helps not only just homes that are completely destroyed but also helps replace roofs, windows, and doors.
Wilson said all group members are volunteers and most of them do not have backgrounds in construction, so they can only do so much. She estimates about 400 homes that need roofs or other materials, and she said that the group has completed 50 so far.
“Completing 50 homes so far is a lot for just seven volunteers,” she said about the efforts that this group of seven has done in two weeks.
She hopes to come back and lead another team in the future, as she enjoys her trip to the islands and helping the people rebuild. “The people are all kind and are filled with the greatest hospitality,” she added.