So, how bad is it? According to CNMI Governor Ralph Torres, emergency recovery may be humming right along in Saipan, Tinian, and Rota in the wake of back to back typhoons: Mangkhut in September, followed by Super Typhoon Yutu in October. But long-term recovery is another story. Here’s more in this PNC exclusive…
Guam – Pacific News Center met with Republican CNMI Gov. Ralph DLG Torres at the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa in Tumon on Saturday during his stopover trip to the territory on his way back to the commonwealth, after spending Thanksgiving with his mother in Boise, Idaho.
After two and a half months of managing post-typhoon triage across the settled CNMI, Torres is optimistic about returning the most inhabited three commonwealth islands to some semblance of workaday normality.
“And so we’re looking at powering the power supply, hopefully by the middle part of December before Christmas — hopefully it’ll be up to 70 percent throughout the island,” said.
“Governor, how long do you think it will take before the islands are completely 100 percent recovered?” PNC asked.
“To be honest and to look at the total number of damages to our homes, I’d say maybe three years,” Torres said.
“You’re looking at 3,000 plus homes that are damaged, and some are completely damaged. And you’re looking at no walls, three walls, four walls, no roofs, I mean all kinds of disaster.
“So what we’re doing now with these Seabees [United States Naval Construction Battalions] and, of course, Army Corps [of Engineers], and different departments—going into the homes, making sure that what they can do to—fix the roof, repair within three days—that’s their priority,” he said.
“Governor, do you foresee more people building stronger, sturdier, more-concrete structures from this point forward?” PNC inquired.
“Well, that’s what we’re encouraging now,” the governor said. “With FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency], we have some different programs that they’ve approved — yeah, for the code, for the recovery, and then that’s one aspect of the recovery.”
From the bottom of his heart, Gov. Torres thanks Guam utility workers, nonprofit organizations, and businesses that are aiding in the Commonwealth’s recovery.