Gov. Eloy S. Inos visited the Port of Saipan to personally check U.S. Navy vessel USS Ashland, which returned to the CNMI a second time to transport more relief goods and equipment as recovery efforts continue on Saipan.
Inos did not address the media, letting his second-in-command, Lt. Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres, to give updates in a short briefing.
In the devastation of Typhoon Soudelor, Inos’ direct instruction to Torres was to “take charge.”
According to Torres, there was “no miscommunication” on the part of the government and federal agencies in the distribution of relief goods on Sunday.
Thousands of residents queued up and waited for hours in three separate locations, causing confusion.
Torres said the trucks carrying the supplies suffered “technical issues” halfway through the delivery, which then caused a “chain reaction” that delayed the distribution.
Delegate Gregorio Kilikili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) on Monday said some of the relief and assistance operations were just “unacceptable.”
He cited the apparent confusion in the way relief goods were distributed at the American Memorial Park, where hundreds of people had to queue up for hours—under a hot sun—to wait for the distribution.
The American Memorial Park, Kagman High School, and Hopwood Junior High School were designated as relief centers on Monday.
The U.S. Department of Defense has also been tapped to assist in the recovery efforts.
“The DoD is here to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” Joint Region Marianas Commander Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar said.
She added that FEMA is the lead coordinating office and that DoD came in to support the “mission assignment,” which is to provide “transportation of assets” from the military’s Combat Logistics Division. One of those transportation assets is the USS Ashland.
Bolivar said the military will not assist in the cleanup activities and that the local government will still be in charge of these activities.
Torres added that the CNMI government will use its own resources and private groups for the use of equipment and labor for the cleanup.
FEMA resources will also be used, he said. “We made the requests to FEMA regarding what we need for the cleanup, but we will continue to tap their resources,” Torres said.