Saipan's main infrastructure stays intact after Hagibis
In the CNMI, a federal emergency declaration has been approved following a more direct hit by Super Typhoon Hagibis. President Trump signed off almost immediately on the request by Gov. Ralph Torres.
The president authorized FEMA to launch recovery efforts, to provide resources and equipment at 75 percent federal funding.
"Gov. Torres is in Hawaii right now but he's been in contact with acting administrator Pete Gayner from FEMA HQ in Washington, D.C.," CNMI administration Spokesman Kevin Bautista said.
He says they're still assessing the damage, but the main infrastructure remains intact, the power system, for example, did not suffer any major hits, and no poles were toppled.
"One of the biggest things that we were making sure of was that we were gonna do everything we can on the government side and the first responder side working with our nonprofit organizations through our multi-agency coordination team and so far the coordination and the response have been very positive," Bautista said.
By coincidence, top officials from FEMA's western region are in Saipan to attend housing groundbreaking ceremonies, less than three weeks ahead of the first year anniversary of Super Typhoon Yutu.
Bautista said it was an emotional several hours, but nothing compared to last October.
"The mood right now is that we're just grateful, the Marianas is grateful," he said. "To be away from a storm that could potentially have brought even more devastating consequences for a U.S. commonwealth that's still recovering from the worst disaster in modern U.S. history."