President Trump approves CNMI emergency declaration

President Donald Trump (file photo)

President Donald Trump has approved the emergency declaration requested by the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for super typhoon Hagibis.

The CNMI Office of the Governor made the announcement early Tuesday morning.

The declaration authorizes FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts in the CNMI following the passage of Hagibis. It provides the agency the legal authority under Title V of the Stafford Act  to give the appropriate emergency assistance to the community.

Just before super typhoon Hagibis hit the CNMI, Acting Governor Arnold Palacios and other officials made the request after reviewing the forecasted impacts of Hagibis on the inhabited islands of Rota, Tinian, Saipan, Pagan, Alamagan, and Agrihan. The CNMI Multi-Agency coordination team met Monday morning to plan for typhoon’s arrival and also to participate in a weather briefing with the National Weather Service.

CNMI Governor Ralph DLG Torres — who is in Hawaii — had also been in touch with FEMA officials to follow-up the emergency request. The CNMI top officials had been in constant communication with the White House during the past few days before Hagibis made its closest approach to the reqion.

“We are very pleased that President Trump has approved our request for a federal emergency declaration,” Torres said in a release. He also thanked the president and federal partners for approving the request.

Now that FEMA has been authorized to coordinate disaster relief efforts, Palacios said CNMI’s federal partners will soon be mobilized to assist local first responders.

“We are back on duty at the Emergency Operations Center this morning to assess our damages and next steps forward,” Palacios said.