Water restored, power to follow

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Gov. Ralph DLG Torres visits Commonwealth Utilities Corp. linemen as they work to restore power poles that were knocked over during Typhoon Mangkhut. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

SONGSONG, Rota—Almost the entire island of Rota can re-enjoy the luxury of running water and soon, electricity.

Rota Mayor Eifram Atalig told Saipan Tribune yesterday that running water has been restored to 98 percent of Rota; the remaining 2 percent is due to low or no water pressure.

Thanks to the speed and continuous work of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., the complete restoration of both water and water can be expected on the island anytime soon, according Atalig.

As of yesterday morning, CUC was able to restore electricity to the Rota Health Center and continued to work their way through Songsong.

“I thank the CUC staff and management and, of course, the leadership of the governor, because the hospital is powered up and, thank God, because that is the most important,” said Atalig.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who visited Rota and Tinian yesterday, said he is extremely happy with the speed of CUC’s linemen and said that the crew will continue to reenergize Songsong village.

Torres joined Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog and Atalig for a meeting with Federal Emergency Management Agency and military partners on damage assessments and recovery and relief efforts for the island.

“I am very happy because, as of last night, we were back up to 98 percent with the water situation. …They [CUC linemen] worked until midnight…so the water is up and…we are starting to re-energize Songsong village,” Torres said.

With CUC able to restore power to the RHC yesterday, CUC linemen are now working their way to the schools and businesses, Torres said.

“We got the hospital up and running yesterday. Hopefully, Mobil will be up next, then the schools will follow, and then the businesses to generate economy,” he said.

Torres added that a new group of CUC linemen have been deployed to Rota from Saipan to speed up the process.

“We are also working on getting Sinapalo up, we’re distributing CUC line crew. …We are getting more CUC crew and equipment today. …They’re coming with new generators and supplies to help our people,” he said.

Atalig also gave credit to the U.S. Marines in removing downed power poles. The Marines were deployed to Rota as a result of President Donald Trump’s disaster emergency declaration for the CNMI.

Atalig reported yesterday that 40-plus power poles were damaged as a result of Typhoon Mangkhut and are currently in the process of being replaced.

Sen. Teresita Santos (R-Rota) is thankful for all the agencies that are working tirelessly to expedite the restoration of Rota.

Assessment

Individual assistance assessments on Rota began yesterday with the help of FEMA, CNMI government departments and agencies, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Contact information for individual assistance is forthcoming and will be provided once an official designee and/or party has been assigned to the task.

CUC executive director Gary Camacho joined personnel deployed to Rota to assess power, water, and utility damage throughout the island. At one point, Torres helped CUC linemen remove a downed power line.

 Rota recovery

Rota Feeder 1 remains down pending completion of the replacement of downed power poles. CUC personnel were expected to complete replacing the poles yesterday.

Five percent of Feeder 2 is back online.

Fifty-five percent of Feeder 3 is back online.

Water service from Juan Barcinas residence, Sinapalo 1 to Chenchon area is back online. Water services were shut down from the post office to the old Rota High School for repair work. Crews immediately repaired and restored services to the area.

American Red Cross damage assessment manager Randy Neeman did a damage assessment training for first responders and Rota municipal government employees yesterday, and they are expected to do assessments on Rota throughout the week. Red Cross teams left Saipan yesterday morning for Rota (and Tinian) to assist local volunteers and partner agencies in training and conducting damage assessments on their respective islands. These assessments will assist in determining the impact and scope of damage from Mangkhut.

Humanitarian efforts

The American Red Cross sent six pallets of relief supplies via ship to Rota yesterday. Supplies included cleaning kits, flashlights, mosquito nets, blankets, hygiene kits, water containers, tarps and cots. Supplies will be sent to Tinian as well pending further assessment.

American Red Cross-NMI Chapter staff and volunteers from the U.S. mainland are also in the CNMI to support relief work.

Fifty volunteers from the Saipan community and partner government agencies were trained on how to do damage assessments on Tuesday. After training, these volunteers performed assessments yesterday throughout Saipan.

Ayuda Luta, a donation drive being jointly organized by several CNMI government agencies and nonprofit organizations, will be accepting nonperishable food, water, and cleaning supplies for the people of Rota at the Garapan Fishing Base on Saturday, Sept. 15 beginning at 7am.

Rota Mayor Eifram Atalig, second from left, and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, center, discuss debris removal plans and further military assistance with Marine Corps Lt. Col. Christopher Johnson. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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