- By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
FSM report: Wutip left $2 million in damage
Typhoon Wutip caused $2 million in damage to homes, public infrastructure and major agricultural crops in the Federated States of Micronesia, according to a damage assessment report released by FSM and U.S. agencies.
The Micronesian government said it will request U.S. President Donald Trump to issue a presidential disaster declaration for FSM to allow the flow of additional funding for post-typhoon rehabilitation.
Typhoon Wutip lashed FSM islands with strong winds and storm surge on Feb. 22, wreaking havoc on Yap and Chuuk and rendering many families homeless. A report released April 8 by the damage assessment team said Wutip had flattened 106 homes.
A multinational team aboard military sealift transport USNS Brunswick arrived in the Lower Mortlock Islands in Chuuk to support post-typhoon recovery efforts. Photo by JRM
“Initial estimates from the report suggest that the cost for supplemental disaster assistance would exceed $2,000,000, of which both emergency needs and public infrastructure repairs would require at least $1,000,000 each,” states a press release from FSM Information Service.
The Joint Damage Assessment team— comprising officials from FSM government agencies, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency— conducted the damage assessment between March 18 and April 4.
“The JDA team, which recognizes that FSM has exhausted its capacity to respond to the immediate needs across the states of Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Yap, advises in their report’s Executive Summary that the JDA provides the basis for a presidential disaster declaration recommendation,” FSMIS said.
On March 11, FSM President Peter M. Christian amended his national declaration of emergency into a national declaration of disaster after receiving preliminary assessments which established significant damage to housing and food security infrastructure.
The amendment of the declaration of emergency into a declaration of disaster enables the FSM, under Compact of Free Association, to formally request further disaster assistance and support from the U.S. government.The declarations of emergency by the governors of Yap and Chuuk remain in effect. On March 12, Pohnpei Gov. Marcelo K. Peterson declared a state of emergency for Pohnpei.
Earlier this month, a multinational team aboard military sealift transport USNS Brunswick arrived in the Lower Mortlock Islands in Chuuk to support post-typhoon recovery efforts, as part of the 2019 Pacific Partnership mission to the islands.
Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief professionals worked with local experts to help develop local response capacities and help them prepare for future disaster scenarios. Engineering teams worked on construction projects and medical personnel conducted health care activities with local medical professionals.