President approves disaster declaration for the CNMI
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER–On Aug. 6 (Chamorro Standard Time), President Obama issued a major disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The declaration triggers the release of federal funds to help the islands recover from Typhoon Soudelor, which hit Saipan and Tinian last weekend.
Specifically, the approval covers the request for individual assistance for residents of Saipan, and public assistance for the Commonwealth, which includes emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged government facilities. It also covers hazard mitigation, which includes assistance for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.
FEMA can fund up to 75 percent of the eligible costs of each project. Total federal funding under the current program is based on a sliding scale of the estimated grants for individual assistance programs and public assistance projects.
The response follows acting governor Ralph DLG. Torres’ Aug. 4 request.
Typhoon Soudelor whipped through the islands last Sunday, bringing with it winds that were estimated near 100 miles per hour.
The final amount has not been confirmed yet. A team of FEMA representatives will have to validate the preliminary assessments upon indicating a final number.
Also, according to federal officials, they are still reviewing the requests for individual assistance, which provides funding to help families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Typhoon Soudelor.
After receiving word of the declaration, Torres stated, “We are grateful to our President in seeing that our island is in great need of help, and at this point we will continue working with our federal partners to ensure we get the help we need to recover fully from this storm.”