‘Only US citizens will get FEMA cash aid’

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be providing financial assistance but only to U.S. citizens. Foreign worker families can apply for FEMA aid on behalf of their minor U.S. citizen children.

This was clarified by David Gervino, FEMA incident management assistance teams external affairs officer, at the monthly Saipan Chamber of Commerce meeting last Wednesday.

Although Super Typhoon Yutu impacted CNMI residents from all walks of life, non-U.S. citizens cannot expect financial assistance from the federal government. Gervino said that federal financial assistance will only be available to U.S. citizens or qualified residents.

Gervino told business employers that foreign employees with valid work visas may apply for federal financial assistance through their minor U.S. citizen child.

“If you have employees who have work visas but are not U.S. citizens, if they have a minor child that is a U.S. citizen…they will be able to apply for federal disaster assistance on behalf of that child. They would do that by making the application in the child’s name with the child’s social security number,” he said.

According to Gervino, although FEMA cannot directly provide financial support to non-U.S. citizens, FEMA can provide referrals to other agencies or organizations that also offer disaster assistance.

“If there is no U.S. citizen, or qualified resident in terms of registering for assistance, we are able to provide resource referrals to agencies such as CARE, the American Red Cross, or other volunteer organizations that can provide them assistance,” he said.

FEMA continues to encourage individuals affected by Yutu to apply for disaster assistance.

“It is very likely, after the magnitude of this disaster, there will be all sorts of assistance programs available compared to Soudelor, so we really encourage, if you incurred damage, to please apply. …That’s why you have all these federal individuals here to get the help you need. …Let us help any way we can,” said Gervino.

There are currently 261 FEMA personnel on Saipan and Tinian and there are currently 913 other federal assistance personnel.

FEMA has established a registration intake center by the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library for individuals who are not able to register online or through telephone.

The center is strictly meant for FEMA disaster assistance registration submission.

Kimberly Bautista Bautista
Kimberly Bautista is the youngest in the stable of Saipan Tribune reporters. She has covered a wide range of beats, including the community, housing, crime, and education, for the Saipan Tribune.

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