Gov. Ralph DLG Torres is appealing to homeowners that qualified for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s housing program to accept the assistance in rebuilding a typhoon-resilient home, which would secure their safety in the event of another destructive storm.
FEMA has offered to rebuild severely damaged homes from the ground up.
Torres said that, according to FEMA, there are 200 homeowners that qualified for the housing program to build concrete homes instead of the usual wood and tin materials used. “There’s three versions: one-, two-, or three-bedroom homes. U.S. contractors would also come in, either voluntarily or they get paid.”
“They [FEMA] provided some schematics and it looks very good. …Please, I encourage you—short of saying I beg you—to accept FEMA to rebuild your homes.”
In a previous interview with Saipan Tribune, FEMA Region IX administrator Robert Fenton Jr. said the housing program is part of their long-term recovery efforts in the wake of Super Typhoon Yutu.
Those who are qualified to avail of the program are U.S. citizens who are homeowners and not renters, their house suffered major damage, they are uninsured, and they own the property or are living in it.
Torres said building typhoon-resilient homes is a must in the CNMI, which is regularly hit by destructive storms. “They [FEMA] will build you a home that is safe for your family and with a water that will give a supply for 14 days after a storm. It is really for the safety of your family. Not just for today or next year, but for years to come. We all know that typhoons come here regularly. So please, if you got accepted for FEMA to build your home, please accept it. I prefer that FEMA builds your home, because I’m concerned that if you take their financial aid and it comes up short—due to issues on labor cost and materials—then you are in a worse situation than where we started. Because now you just lost the opportunity of securing a home that would keep your family safe.”
Torres said the islands’ full recovery is still a long way to go, especially for the 200 homeowners that qualified to avail the program. “We will continue to work with FEMA on that. We want to take some time and be resilient. Get the people brand new concrete homes. Every home that they [FEMA, military, and other federal partners] built or help repair is part of rebuilding the dreams of every homeowner.”