Life after Yutu: Status updates

It has been a little over a month since Super Typhoon Yutu devastated the islands of Saipan and Tinian, but significant movement toward recovery has been progressively steady and made possible through partnerships and collaborative efforts fostered between the CNMI government and our federal and military partners.

In just five weeks, Saipan’s shelter population has been reduced by 70 percent. Power has been restored to 50 percent of the island of Saipan, with 50 percent of Tinian projected by the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. to be back online by Christmas. Over 80 percent of Saipan’s water wells and 100 percent of Tinian’s wells have been energized. Public schools, including the Northern Marianas College, will be opening their doors for the first time since Yutu made landfall.

Additionally, the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport welcomed its first flight of tourists a week ago and key businesses vital to community service and continuity such as gas stations, water companies, banking institutions, restaurants, and convenient stores have resumed normal operating hours.

The tasks of water distribution provided by reverse osmosis water purification units and debris removal from primary roads conducted on the islands of Saipan and Tinian by our military partners have been marked as “mission complete” due to signs of life in the CNMI reverting back to normal.

Office of the Governor 
The Office of the Governor continues to direct CNMI government offices to resume reduced operational hours from 9am to 3pm, so that government employees and residents can avail of the variety of disaster assistance programs requested by CNMI leadership, such as Disaster Food Assistance, or D-NAP, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, and the CNMI Tenting Program, or TETRIS, and humanitarian relief from the American Red Cross, CNMI Mass Care, other nonprofit partners, and volunteer organizations. Resumption of normal operational hours will be announced soon. 

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog, and Senate President Arnold I. Palacios continue to meet with regional and international consulate offices that have committed to providing additional assistance to their respective citizen groups. This includes the Philippine Consulate General, Korean Consulate, FSM Consulate, and the China Consulate. The meetings centered on leveraging additional humanitarian and financial resources for CNMI residents who were severely impacted by the storm. 

The CNMI leadership continues to work with federal partners on leveraging additional federal assistance related to disaster assistance, technical assistance, and hazard mitigation. This includes conversations with the Department of the Interior, U.S. Economic Development Authority, etc. 

The CNMI leadership continues to work with tourism stakeholders and private sector partners on revitalizing and supporting the CNMI tourism market and overall economy as the CNMI continues to see visitor arrivals steadily increase. The Marianas Visitors Authority continues to market the CNMI as a viable and preferred destination. 
 
Power and water restoration
CUC has been hard at work, and have been able to within this past month restore 50 percent of power, more than 80 percent of water production to the island of Saipan and 100 percent water production and 50 percent of power by the Christmas holiday to the island of Tinian. Further, 106 out of 138 water wells have been energized, 66 of which are online with the CUC power grid and 40 of which are online with FEMA generators.
 
Shelter and housing
On Nov. 5, 2018, the CNMI government, in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Defense, and American Red Cross, introduced the Temporary Emergency Tent and Roofing Installation Support Program, or TETRIS. The TETRIS program was designed to assist families whose homes were totaled or majorly destroyed as a result of Yutu.

As of today, 804 tents have been installed on Saipan, and 202 on Tinian.

As the CNMI government continues to provide temporary housing solutions for residents impacted by Yutu, more inspections conducted by FEMA inspectors to damaged homes will also be occurring simultaneously; however, it is important to note that the TETRIS program and Individual Assistance provided by FEMA are two separate programs. Applying for disaster assistance with FEMA will not automatically make you an applicant for the TETRIS program, and vice versa.

It is also important to note that the deadline to submit right of entry forms for recipient consideration of tents or temporary roofs have been set for Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018.

Applications received after Dec. 8 will not be accepted.

Deadline to apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance is set for Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019.

As of today, the shelter count on Saipan is 360, nearly a 70-percent reduction from the immediate post-Yutu landfall shelter count.
 
Debris removal
The Saipan Mayor’s Office, Department of Public Works, and the Department of Defense continue to team up to clear debris from residents’ homes, and would like to remind the residents of Saipan and Tinian to continue separating debris into four different piles:

1. Green waste (trees, shrubs, plants, grass, etc.)
2. Tin (roofing metal, metal sheets, etc.)
3. Lumber (plywood, 2x2s, 2x4s, etc.)
4. Household Waste (mattresses and furniture damaged by Yutu. Does not include daily household trash)

Day-to-day household trash mixed in with the above piles will not be picked up by debris crews.

Emergency food assistance
Due to the ongoing processing of D-NAP, the regular issuance of NAP benefits will be delayed one week. NAP benefits will be issued on Dec. 10 on Tinian and Saipan, and Dec. 11 on Rota.
The D-NAP application process on Saipan will be extended an additional week. The D-NAP application and issuance has been completed for Tinian.
 
Disaster unemployment assistance 
Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available for workers and self-employed individuals on Saipan, Rota, Tinian and the Northern Islands affected by Super Typhoon Yutu and/or Typhoon Mangkhut. Deadline is Dec. 16, 2018, which means there are 12 days remaining until DUA application deadline. DUA provides payment and reemployment assistance to individuals who are unemployed as a direct result of a major disaster.

Saipan airport
The Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport is open for day and night flights. Island power has been temporarily restored. The Commonwealth Ports Authority is repairing its riser and materials have been ordered. The main generators are awaiting parts and will undergo maintenance. The commuter building is totally shut down due to extensive damage. Commuter tenants are operating out of temporary container offices in the commuter parking area. CPA is working with a vendor to remove the damaged canopy leading from the bus parking to the commuter building. Majority of the canopy has been removed.

All navigational aids are operable. Flight checks were completed. The Tower and Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting are now on island power. Majority of the taxiway/runway lights have been replaced. However, the taxiway/runway signs need replacement. The sign housing has been replaced, and now awaiting the actual signs.

There is water running through the terminals. Most of the streetlights are non-operable due to damaged wires and poles. Need to order parts and light poles. More lights have been fixed and CPA has received 30 solar lights, which are now being installed. The CPA is working on restoring the exterior terminal lights and installing temporary lighting. The SIA incinerator is operable by a generator. The Mobil aviation facility is powered by generator and is able to refuel aircrafts.

Car rental tenants are open for business.

Port of Saipan is back to normal operations.
 
Tinian airport
The Tinian International Airport is running on a FEMA generator. The CPA generator is awaiting a schedule to be serviced. Still awaiting parts to replace broken taxiway and runway lights. Temporary fencing repair was completed.
 
Port of Tinian
The dock has no power. Any incoming vessels will need to bring their own lights and power supply. Fencing materials arrived on Tinian to repair damaged areas. FEMA operations was moved from the airport to the seaport.
 
Rota airport
Both the Benjamin Taisacan Airport on Rota and the Rota seaport are back to normal operations.
 
Practicing Caution
With the partial opening of the Public School System campuses happening as early as today, Dec. 3, 2018, the Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management would like to advise the community to be cognizant of heavy equipment and dump trucks still circulating public highways and to practice caution when driving on public roadways. “The Mayor’s Office, Department of Public Works and our Department of Defense partners are still removing debris from schools and secondary roads where most of the community reside, and so we are encouraging parents who need to drop off their children to school to leave a little earlier than usual to ensure kids are getting to school on time,” said Pedro Leon Guerrero, HSEM deputy special assistant. (PR)

Press Release
News under Press Release are official statements issued to Saipan Tribune giving information on a particular matter.

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