US President approves emergency funds for Marianas

The US president has approved the Northern Marianas governor’s request for an emergency declaration following the impact of Typhoon Mangkhut.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA is authorised to provide emergency assistance for the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

Specifically, FEMA is authorised to provide emergency protective measures under the Public Assistance Program at 75 percent federal funding.

Earlier, the Marianas Governor Ralph Torres wasted no time in sending a request for assistance to US President Donald Trump.

He said the storm was of such severity and magnitude that an effective response was beyond the capabilities of the CNMI government and federal assistance was needed to save lives and protect property, health and safety.

Rota bore the brunt of Typhoon Mangkhut with typhoon dumping up to 255mm of rain and winds of over 223 kilometers an hour hitting the Marianas’ southern most island.

Eight hundred people in Guam are expected to spend a second night in emergency shelters after Typhoon Mangkhut passed close to the island last night.

The Governor’s office said Guam dodged a direct hit as the storm swerved slightly north and weakened, affecting the island as a category 2 system.

A spokesperson Oyaol Ngirairikl said most of Guam was without power on Tuesday after trees fell on power lines and poles toppled in the storm.

She said while some people were hit by flying debris and fell over in slippery conditions, there were no major injuries reported.

“But you know we are continuing to work towards full normalcy, which is going to take a while with the power situation. But you know we are hoping that within the next week or so we’ll be back to normal,” she said.

According to Ms Ngirairikl the central and northern parts of Guam were the worst affected and there was a total power black-out at the height of the storm. Electricity is slowly being restored.

Government agencies and the naval base were expected to be open on Wednesday, she said.

The Governor would be assessing the damage with help from federal emergency officals who had arrived prior to the typhoon, she said.

More than 2100 people rode out the storm in emergency shelters on Monday night.

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