CNMI governor Ralph DLG. Torres and Joint Region Marianas commander, Rear Adm. Shoshanna Chatfield and representatives from the Guam National Guard met with local and federal partners to discuss ongoing recovery efforts after Typhoon Yutu, Oct. 28. Photo courtesy of Joint Region Marianas
Saipan-- Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres, who is seeking reelection, on Sunday announced the suspension of his campaign for the remainder of the 2018 CNMI general election season to prioritize relief and recovery operations in the wake of super typhoon Yutu.
“Arnold and I will be personally suspending our campaign from now until election day. This recovery operation is beyond politics,” Governor Torres said in his official statement.
“As your governor, I will be devoting all of my time on our relief and recovery efforts. I ask our community to respect each other and help each other out during this difficult time. The more we do that, the faster we can recover. Inafa'maolek. Un Familia. Un Guinaiya. Tipiyeew.”
On Saturday, President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the CNMI, which was battered by Yutu on Oct. 24, leaving one dead and more than a hundred injured. Saipan and Tinian remained without power and water.
Torres advised that all non-critical government employees to report to their respective government offices on Monday to assist in preliminary damage assessments and to prepare their respective offices to eventually reopen for the public.
“Non-critical government employees, who cannot make it to work due to the impact of the storm, must notify their immediate supervisor and apply for personal leave,” Torres said in a press statement.
On Guam, the governor’s office said the GovGuam Friday’s boot drive to help with Yutu recovery efforts in Tinian and Saipan raised $28,945.88.
“On Guam, we know how it feels to be without water and power for months after a typhoon,” Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo said. “We’re working on different avenues to support the Northern Marianas as they face months of recovery but I know that what we raised on Friday will be welcomed. Let us also continue to pray for our brothers and sisters as they work through this tough time.” The nonprofit groups Prutehi Litekyan and Haya Foundation sent about 3,000 lbs of relief cargo aboard three planes to the Tinian Women's Association.
“As the ports and airport in Saipan were not operational, we were able to work with Star Marianas as they were able to fly to Tinian,” the two groups said in a press release. “Our groups have arranged a shipping container to Saipan and are asking the community to continue to respond and drop off the items Sunday and Monday so that we can fill and deliver the container on Tuesday.”
“We have been working with our brothers and sisters in Tinian and Saipan and we feel their pain right now,” said Prutehi Liteykan member Barbara Benavente. “We’re just here to support as much as we can.”
“Because of the constant communication our groups have with first responders there, we’re able to really target the items that they need the most, so we ask the community to continue to respond and donate,” said Haya Foundation Director Zita Pangelinan.