CNMI food stamp office ignores many typhoon victims

7:55 pm on 24 August 2015

A legislator in the Northern Marianas says hundreds of people who desperately need food assistance are being turned away by the authorities.

Damage on Saipan in CNMI from Typhoon Soudelor

Damage in CNMI from Typhoon Soudelor Photo: Facebook

Gregorio Sablan says the federal Food and Nutrition Service had earlier authorised the CNMI government to open up eligibility for food stamps because of the devastation caused by Typhoon Soudelor.

But he says the service has informed him the Government has decided not to increase eligibility and only those that meet the normal guidelines are being given emergency food stamps.

Mr Sablan says people are going hungry as a result.

The Lieutenant Governor Ralph Torres told the Saipan Tribune the Food and Nutrition Service initially gave approval for US$3.5 million worth of funds but that has subsequently been reduced to US$1 million.

He says the Government has to abide by federal guidelines and it does not make sense to jeopardise those already in need.

More than 5000 households are now seeking government food assistance.