NOAA presents HSEM $579,981 grant for tsunami preparedness


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded $579,981 in total grant funding to the CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for the purpose of building awareness and preparedness within the Commonwealth for hazards and potential threats related to tsunamis.

According to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres yesterday, the grant award will strengthen ongoing outreach programs and the revitalization of existing and new tsunami evacuation zones and assembly sites.

“Over the last two years, we’ve strengthened our planning and foresight in regards to emergency preparedness, particularly since Typhoon Soudelor. Our emergency preparedness plans also include preparing for tsunamis after earthquakes,” said Torres. “This grant award will help us in mitigating the impact of tsunamis through public education, community response planning, hazard assessment, and warning coordination. I commend our HSEM team for their continued diligence in preparing for disasters and increasing our capacity through federal and regional partnership. Preparedness remains a priority and responsibility for our entire community, and this funding will go a long way in keeping us safer and more informed.”

HSEM external affairs officer Nadine C. Deleon Guerrero noted that yesterday’s earthquake highlighted the importance of preparing and executing an emergency plan.

“Although the upcoming award will assist in funding an additional two fixed-position sirens in the CNMI, we are excited to also have funding available to further educate and provide awareness to the community. In times of tsunamis, the most important aspect outside of public information and warnings is ensuring our residents are well-educated and aware of the necessary precautionary measures needed to be taken in an effort to save lives and mitigate loss of property as best we can. This includes the inception of a family emergency plan, and not just creating one, but knowing the importance of exercising that plan to validate its effectiveness,” Deleon Guerrero said.

HSEM grants manager Brien S. Nicholas Jr. said the grant covers a fixed siren warning system, neowave modeling for the Port of Saipan, awareness training and exercises, education and outreach, evacuation, assembly and hazard zone signage, and emergency trainings for personnel.

“With yesterday’s report of a 6.6-magnitude earthquake just southeast of Farallon de Medinilla, I continue to urge our community to become more aware and better prepared for emergencies that may threaten our islands moving forward,” Nicholas said. (PR)

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