Calvo will fight for those affected by Typhoon Dolphin - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Calvo will fight for those affected by Typhoon Dolphin

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A month may have passed since Typhoon Dolphin, but Governor Eddie Calvo says helping people recover remains a top priority. And the governor plans to appeal FEMA's recent decision to deny individual assistance to those who suffered losses as a result of the typhoon.

It's been less than two weeks since President Barack Obama issued a major disaster declaration for Guam. "First I want to thank FEMA because there was a declaration, declared by the President for Disaster so we are getting some assistance," he said. The approval specifically covers the request for hazard mitigation and public assistance, which includes emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged government facilities. Not included however was individual assistance for people who suffered losses from Typhoon Dolphin.

"But we understand also the rejection for individual assistance," he said. "But we are given a 30-day period to protest it and we are going to move forward with that."

According to FEMA's Office of Response and Recovery, while the damage to infrastructure was significant throughout Guam, based on FEMA's review through a joint preliminary damage assessment, it was determined the impact to individuals and households was "not the severity and magnitude to warrant the designation for individual assistance." Calvo said, "We believe there are so many of our citizens in need of this assistance and we're looking toward what we can in terms of support from the federal government, particularly many of them are immigrants from the Compact states. So it's important that the United States they have this compact treaty to see what they can do to work with us to help all those that live in Guam, whether its citizens of the United States or immigrants who have come in as a result of the compacts."

Governor Calvo says the matter nonetheless will remain a top priority, saying, "It's important that this community work as one and we're hopeful that the federal government that can have that same mentality and spirit, as well."

In the meantime, Guam Homeland Security Public affairs officer Jenna Gaminde says six FEMA officials are on island this week to help with other recovery efforts. "They've been extremely helpful," she noted. "We don't have a bigger team this time around, so we are working with them virtually so we can contact them through their region."

The team is here specifically to brief the agencies and nonprofit groups who qualify for the public assistance funding. "They'll be able to come in and get an overview of what's going to happen and what kind of documentation will be needed in order for them to need that assistance," she added.

The FEMA officials are expected to be on Guam until the end of July. Gaminde says 28 GovGuam agencies including the mayors from Asan/Maina, Barrigada and Dededo attended the briefing this afternoon. A second briefing will continue Wednesday morning. As for individual assistance, Gaminde says GHS is reaching out to non-profit organizations.

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