Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said they have been helping the Commonwealth Advocates for Recovery Efforts in the rebuilding of homes that either sustained damage or have been destroyed by Typhoon Soudelor last year.
Today is the anniversary of Soudelor making landfall on Saipan rendering the island without power and water for more than a month. Torres yesterday signed a proclamation declaring Aug. 1 to 6 as Typhoon Soudelor Commemoration Week.
The commemoration will honor the first responders after the disaster and those who contributed to the community’s efforts to recover. The week ends with a SOU’ Fest on Saturday, Aug. 6.
Torres, in last week’s presentation by the Empty Vessel Ministry, said construction crew volunteers have began arriving and more groups are expected that would speed up the process of repairing and rebuilding the homes.
Construction workers on the island won’t be enough to supply the need of the demand required for the repair and rebuilding of homes since there are other projects from the private sector that are ongoing.
That’s why, Torres said that various volunteer groups would be coming to Saipan to help complete the repair and rebuild project with CARE as the administering non-governmental organization.
“They will be helping CARE in the repair and rebuild of homes destroyed by the typhoon. We will assist and give priority to the homes that were totally destroyed and we are going to also assist CARE with this project,” said Torres.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is going to shoulder the airfare of the volunteer builders, an invitational travel program valued at $250,000. FEMA will be providing a rotating group of volunteer builders and support crew for the next two years.
“I’ve heard that there are still families living in tents in some areas and with the help of CARE we’re going to look into it. We are going to address the homes by families who continue to be in need,” he added.
The assistance given by FEMA is only intended to qualified recipients whose homes either need repair or total rebuild. FEMA has already approved more than $20 million in grants to qualified Saipan survivors according to its website.
FEMA’s grants do not include those given to the Public School System to repair the damage in its facilities on Saipan.