Recovery efforts well underway in Saipan after Typhoon Soudelor
Recovery efforts have progressed well in Saipan, in the wake of Typhoon Soudelor which battered the territory just over a week ago.
The Emergency Management office of the CNMI says recovery efforts have progressed well in Saipan, in the wake of Typhoon Soudelor which battered the territory just over a week ago.
The typhoon's sustained winds destroyed several hundred homes leaving many needing help.
More than 1300 residents have applied for Federal relief assistance and a US Navy ship arrived in Saipan on the weekend carrying significant aid.
Kevin Bautista from the Emergency Management office gave Indira Moala the latest update.
KEVIN BAUTISTA: We've been able to clear about 90 percent of our roadways. In terms of communication, we still have some spotty communication mishaps around island. Right now, there's still an island-wide power outage. Limited water capacity has improved. Over 25 percent of the island has limited water capacity as of now. And that percentage is increasing. In terms of fuel, a shipment of fuel, as indicated to us by Mobil, will be coming in here on August 18th. There is going to be adequate fuel supply for the island.
INDIRA MOALA: In terms of recovery efforts and the damage to infrastructure and homes, for those that are homeless right now and staying in refuge shelters - how long are they expected to be there?
KB: There are currently about 541 displaced residents across 9 shelters on the island of Saipan. In terms of an estimated time frame as to when they will be leaving those shelters, we do not have one due to the fact that most of the shelterees in our shelters are displaced because of damaged homes or no home at all. We are currently in the process of getting these residents in the shelters and those residents around the island to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in order to avail for individual assistance funding. So that they can rebuild their homes and regain a sense of normalcy.
IM: So along with the relief supplies that the Federal Emergency Management Agency brought along over the weekend, they're also offering financial assistance for the rebuild of people's homes?
KB: Yes. That is what was outlined in the presidential declaration signed by President Obama as requested by the CNMI government. The individual assistance will allow individuals and families to rebuild their homes and as well as some compensation for their personal belongings. We are currently in a mass co-ordination effort to get residents to register with FEMA online on disasterassistance.gov
IM: How many residents do you expect will be applying for relief assistance?
KB: In terms of expectation we expect most if not all of our residents to register. About 1300 residents have registered on the FEMA database.
IM: And so you're expecting that almost all, if not all, the entire population of Saipan will apply for assistance?
KB: Yes, that is the general expectation, and they are highly encouraged to do so. So the general expectation is yes. They should and we expect that they will.
IM: In terms of the power outage, how long do you expect that it will take to be back up and running and back to normal again?
KB: We've been given a 4 to 5 week preliminary assessment of power as indicated so far by our local Utilities corporation. I can tell you that recovery efforts right now have been going pretty smoothly and we expect that it continues to do so, so that we can gain a sense of normalcy back here on the island of Saipan.
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