Dededo, Guam -- Disaster relief and assistance to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands following Typhoon Pongsona has climbed to $17.4 million since President George W. Bush declared the area eligible for federal disaster aid on December 11.
Pongsona struck on December 8, 2002, leaving behind one of the costliest disasters to hit Micronesia in decades.
"The figures we are releasing today reflect the magnitude of the disaster and the effectiveness of the recovery operations," said Federal Coordinating Officer David Fukutomi. "The broad scope of available assistance programs has contributed significantly to a quick and thorough response."
Governor Juan Babauta visited Rota just after the typhoon struck, and then again last week. "The recovery effort has been remarkable," he said. "The federal agencies coordinating the cleanup and rebuilding of Rota have put the island and its people back on their feet. We owe a great debt of gratitude to FEMA, the Red Cross, SBA, and everyone who aided in this outstanding effort."
Assistance to the Commonwealth included the following:
- $636,000 in initial emergency response costs
- $1.4 million in housing and home repairs
- $2.2 million to cover other uninsured disaster-related needs
- $516,695 in Disaster Unemployment Assistance
- $70,613 for Crisis Counseling services
- $9.1 million in SBA low-interest disaster loans
- $1.9 million in projected Public Assistance funding to governmental agencies and certain private non-profit organizations
- Approximately $1.6 million in projected Hazard Mitigation Grant Program grants
On March 11, President Bush amended the original disaster declaration by increasing the federal cost-share from the previous 75 percent to 90 percent for Typhoons Chata'an and Pongsona. This authorization, based on special conditions and documentation, reduces CNMI's cost share for Public Assistance, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and Other Needs Assistance under the Individuals and Households Program.
RECOVERY OPERATION HIGHLIGHTS
In close coordination with the Commonwealth, FEMA launched a broad spectrum of disaster assistance programs to help individuals, businesses, governmental agencies and private eligible non-profit organizations recover from the damage Pongsona left behind. Highlights include:
- Projected eligible amount of $1.9 million is under review for Public Assistance to governmental agencies and private non-profit organizations for debris removal, and to repair buildings and protective measures on Rota.
- On February 5, Public Assistance was approved for Saipan and Tinian. Dollar amounts are not yet available, as project work sheets are still being compiled and reviewed.
- Registered 749 individuals through FEMA's 1-800 teleregistration number.
- Handled another 1127 calls at the national FEMA Helpline. That Helpline -- 1-800-621-3362 -- is still open. Applicants who have registered with FEMA may call with questions or to learn the status of their applications.
- Set up a Disaster Recovery Center at the Northern Mariana College Public Library Complex that provided information to more than 1,300 disaster victims who visited the Center.
- Provided $2.2 million in Other Needs Assistance for i...