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Super Typhoon Pongsona: The First 100 Days Over $300 Million In Disaster Relief And Assistance

Release date: 
March 12, 2003
Release Number: 

Dededo, Guam -- In the first 100 days following Super Typhoon Pongsona, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and 28 other federal agencies provided more than $300 million in disaster relief and assistance in Guam, making it the country's most costly natural disaster in 2002 in a single state or territory.

Pongsona struck Guam on December 8, 2002. Since then, over a third of a billion dollars in assistance has been provided to individuals, businesses and public entities on Guam who suffered losses as a result of the typhoon.

Assistance has included

  • $60 million in initial response costs
  • $38.8 million for housing and home repair
  • $75.6 million to cover other uninsured disaster-related needs
  • $130 million in SBA low-interest loans
  • $330,000 for crisis counseling for victims
  • $1.3 million in disaster unemployment assistance
  • $5.0 million for public assistance including buildings, protective measures, and utilities

"Thanks to the great collaboration of federal and other agencies, this has been one of the most effective and significant disaster recovery operations I've seen," said David Fukutomi, federal coordinating officer. "Our new housing program paved the way for us to disburse an average of $2 million a day-a dramatic response to the critical needs of Guam and its citizens."

"The support has been overwhelming," said Governor Felix P. Camacho. "While a very costly storm, the efforts to assist the people of Guam pick up the pieces from the worst storm in 100 years is just an example of the commitment of FEMA and all the members of the federal family."


Even as agencies were responding with emergency assistance, FEMA was launching its disaster assistance programs for Guam residents and businesses in close coordination with GovGuam's

Office of Civil Defense. In the first 100 days, FEMA and its partners in recovery provided the following aid:

  • Registered nearly 29,000 individuals through FEMA's 1-800 teleregistration number.
  • Delivered the first assistance check just 10 days after the declaration.
  • Established a local multilingual Helpline to help applicants check on the status of their applications. Operators fluent in Chamorro, Chuukese, Tagalog, Spanish, and Cantonese handled 17,850 calls. The Helpline also
    • Worked closely with Guam Post Master to contact 960 applicants whose addresses were invalid.
    • Called over 4,500 applicants to clarify insurance issues to ensure all eligible assistance was provided.
  • Handled another 20,700 calls at the national FEMA Helpline.
  • Set up three Disaster Recovery Centers-in Yigo, University of Guam Field House, and the Inarjan Senior Center-to provide information to more than 35,000 disaster victims.
  • Provided more than 4,000 individuals with counseling services to help victims deal with the stress that accompanies a major disaster.
  • In order to expedite loan applications, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) established a temporary processing center, moving equipment and personnel from Sacramento, Ca, to Guam. It has approved $130 million in low-interest disaster loans.
  • FEMA worked closely with GovGuam's Community Partners in Recovery (CPR) to help victims with medical and special needs and other services not covered by regular assistance programs.
  • In concert with other programs, FEMA's H...
Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:54