‘We waited overnight for DNAP’


The destruction of Super Typhoon Yutu caused those who previously got by without government assistance to camp out of the Nutritional Assistance Program office in As Lito for aid.

It was learned that several residents who were in line for their Disaster Nutritional Assistance Program benefits, stayed as early as 7pm the night before for assistance.

People of all walks of life were concentrated outside the NAP office in As Lito, including a young casino dealer trying to feed himself and his wife.

Lester, not his real name, is a casino dealer who is a U.S. citizen. However, with the uncertainties that surround the casino, Lester lined up for DNAP to secure his family.

“With the casino temporarily shut down, the uncertainty of future casino operations, and the rumors going around of additional people being laid off… that is the reason why I am here, to apply for DNAP,” he said.

Lester told Saipan Tribune that DNAP is an alternate source of food, especially now that he has no steady income from the casino.

“We were camping in front of the NAP office since 7pm Saturday,” Lester said. He was No. 12 in line, and was able to receive his DNAP benefits at around 10am, two hours after the NAP office opened its gates for registration.

“Around 6am we started having trouble,” he said, that there were some issues with the lines.

Rachel, not her real name and a CW-1 worker, brought her family here in hopes of providing a better life for them. She and her husband camped out of the NAP office with her child for DNAP benefits.

“This assistance is very useful for the basic necessities of those who were greatly affected by Typhoon Yutu,” she told Saipan Tribune, adding that her house was completely wiped out. She noted that even though the assistance was specifically for food, it was a great help.

“We lost our house,” she said, adding that she was staying the night at a family friend’s place.

“We still do not have the capacity to look for a new house because we have not gotten anything from other assistance distributions,” she said, adding that her family lining up for DNAP benefits was her first taste of assistance since Yutu.

Gloria, also a CW-2 stay-at-home mother of two, noted that she and her family camped at 8pm Saturday night. She was with her husband, who brought a tarpaulin, some blankets, and a portable stove for coffee as they lined up for DNAP benefits.

“The assistance, even just for food, is a big help for our family,” she said.

She noted that her family of four feared for their lives in the afternoon of Yutu’s visit and evacuated to a shelter around 4pm. They reside in As Lito.

“This assistance is really helpful for a family such as ours. It helps with feeding our children, so everything is worth the wait,” she said.

Gloria, also not her real name, painted a similar picture as she recalled her experience with the American Red Cross’ financial distributions.

During their interviews, both Gloria and Rachel noted their gratitude toward the government, especially since their status prevents them from receiving the regular NAP assistance.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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