As part of plans to revitalize the Garapan area, the Office of Planning and Development is working with the Department of Public Works to resolve the flooding that hits the area each time heavy rain occurs on Saipan.
OPD deputy director Chris Concepcion told Saipan Tribune that they are working with DPW, the Capital Improvement Project Office, Hazard Mitigation, Northern Marianas Housing Corp., and the Marianas Visitors Authority to address not just the flooding but all the problems facing the area, which include parking, drainage, and more.
Concepcion noted that the Garapan Revitalization Task Force, which he co-chairs with Ivan Quichocho, is working on securing a funding source for the project.
“We are working with DPW and other agencies to secure federal resources to fund improvements for the drainage system in Garapan,” he said.
“We saw how bad the flooding got last week with just a couple of hours of rain [in] one day,” he said, noting that the water in some areas are knee-deep when it rains and creates a hazardous, unhygienic, and unhealthy environment.
“I witnessed tourists walking in the water and filming it, which we can assume will go on social media and spread from there—not a good image to portray to the markets,” Concepcion told Saipan Tribune. “We are reasonably confident that funding is available for these infrastructure improvements so the [Garapan Revitalization] Task Force will continue to push for these projects to be prioritized by the business community and our leaders on [Capital] Hill.”
There was no immediate word from DPW Secretary James Ada and the Torres administration.
Rainy weather ahead
On Sunday, the U.S. National Weather Service in Guam announced that, as of 5pm, the 6.65 inches of rain that fell yesterday broke the previous rainfall record set back in 1983 by 2.26 inches.
“This number will go up through the evening,” the NWS posted in its social media page.
In a separate post on its social media page, the agency noted that this weather would continue today after stating that it is keeping an eye on a recently-formed tropical depression just east of the Marianas.
At around 3pm yesterday, the Governor’s Office issued a flash flood warning in effect for the Marianas, asking residents to stay off the roads and move to higher ground if necessary.
The Torres administration noted that as of 2pm, the Public School System activated Dandan Middle School and Kagman High School as shelters for residents living in tents. The Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority was also activated to provide transportation to and from shelters if needed.