By Pacific Island Times News Staff
FEMA grants CNMI $38.6 million to rebuild Yutu-damaged NMC
Saipan-- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has officially awarded the Northern Mariana Islands over $38.6 million to fund the reconstruction of Northern Marianas College, which was heavily damaged by Super Typhoon Yutu.
CNMI Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres said the FEMA funding covers the NMC As Terlaje’s campus’s Buildings A to W, the NMC Gymnasium, campus-wide exterior components, emergency protective measures, and other contents, as well as buildings on the NMC Tinian campus.
“NMC was among the hardest hit areas by Super Typhoon Yutu, and we have worked extremely hard in our planning and application for funding since the beginning of the recovery," Torres said.
"With this latest funding approval, we can continue the work of rebuilding our College so that our Proa family and future students can have a great place to learn, work, and grow. We look forward to building new school buildings, repair damaged facilities, and create a college campus that will have the potential to be one of the best in the Pacific,” he added.
Torres noted the importance of the CNMI's partnership with FEMA and what it can be accomplished.
The project worksheets approved by FEMA include construction and replacement of buildings, classrooms, and facilities on the NMC As Terlaje campus on Saipan and the NMC campus on Tinian.
“Super Typhoon Yutu wreaked unprecedented devastation and damage to NMC,” said Frankie Eliptico, NMC interim president.
“The storm’s powerful winds and rain caused structural damage to many facilities and destroyed classrooms, offices, cafeteria, bookstore, all computer labs, student center, CREES offices, and many other facilities on our campus.”
Eliptico said the funds from FEMA’s Public Assistance program will help in large part to rebuild the campus and give the college an opportunity to construct brand new facilities that are modern, typhoon-resilient, technologically advanced, and energy efficient.
Virginia Villagomez, the governor’s representative to FEMA for Super Typhoon Yutu, said the CNMI will continue its work on typhoon-related recovery.
“This is certainly welcoming news for NMC and for the CNMI. The Torres-Palacios administration will continue its commitment to rebuild homes, schools, and public facilities, while prioritizing mitigation projects that will protect life and property in our community thus strengthen and improve our mitigation efforts throughout the Commonwealth," Villagomez said.
"We are grateful for all the efforts that FEMA has driven to secure this approval and as partners, we look forward to successfully completing projects benefiting our community,” she added.