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RISEUP program launched to help repair metal roofs destroyed by Mawar

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicolson speaks during a press conference at the Office of Civil Defense where officials unveiled the Roofing Installation Support Emergency Utilization Program, or RISEUP, on June 9. Photo by Frank Whitman

By Frank Whitman

A little more than two weeks after Typhoon Mawar battered Guam with its horrific winds, the U.S. Department of Defense in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Office of the Governor of Guam, Guam Homeland Security/Office/Civil Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency unveiled the Roofing Installation Support Emergency Utilization Program, or RISEUP, to assist residents whose metal roofs were damaged in the storm.

Eligibility for the program is based on the damage to the structure and its use. There are no citizenship or income requirements for the program and there is no expense to the homeowner. Nor will recipients be precluded from any other assistance program. '

Among other requirements, “The dwellings must have disaster-caused roof damage that impacts habitability,” said Brig. Gen Brig. Gen. Curt Gibbons, of USACE, during a press conference June 9. Approximately 50 percent of the roof substructure must remain in place. “The tin could be gone, but we need to have a structure there to be able to put the tin on the roof.”

In addition, the damaged structure must cover indoor living space that is completely enclosed by walls. The living space is to include facilities for cooking, eating, sleeping and sanitation. Outdoor kitchens with damaged roofs may qualify if they cover the dwelling’s only means of cooking and storing food.

The program involves three steps: “No.1, Guam residents will contact their mayor’s office to apply,” Gibbons said. “That is where you file a right of entry which authorizes us to get on the property and … do an assessment. That’s the second step. Our USACE experts – 12 to 15 USACE folks will provide quality assurance expertise throughout this mission. They are handpicked from across the nation; our very, very best; that have done this for years - will assess the roof’s damage for eligibility in the program. The third piece is our DoD partners emplace a temporary metal roof.”

Officials pointed out that the roof repairs are to be temporary; homes will not be permanently rebuilt.

“(RISEUP team members) are going to be out there to put your roof back so you are protected from the weather,” said Gov. Lourdes Leon Guerrero.

Those interested in applying for the RISEUP program should contact their mayor’s office, not disaster relief centers, Leon Guerrero said.

Officials estimate that about 250 homes will qualify for the program.

“There is further opportunity to grow that number (of qualified homes),” said Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio. The estimate of potential recipients was based on observations from the air by Tenorio and Leon Guerrero as they flew over the damaged areas.

About 163 USACE personnel are on Gum to take part in the storm recovery.

Rear Adm. Benjamín Nicholson, commander, Task of Force West and Joint Region Marianas said military members, for the most part, are as affected by the storm as civilian residents.

“More than half of our active duty members and their families live off the installations and the vast majority of our Department of Defense civilians live off the installations,” he said. “So they’ve been hit by Typhoon Mawar just as everyone else has, but they are also, just like many people, they’re stepping up to help where they can.”

DoD personnel are providing the labor for RISEUP. “Professionally, for the most part, our service members are not carpenters, they are not roofing experts. They do a lot of other things, but they can help out.”

Military construction units: the Navy Seabees, Air Force RED HORSE members, USACE and military engineers are providing the expertise for the program and “they know how to swing a hammer,” Nicholson said.

Nicholson said he believes the sustained reported wind speed of 140 mph was much higher than that.

“As I look at some of the damage and things that should have been able to sustain that, we’re seeing damage that’s indicative of much, much higher wind speeds,” Nicholson said. “We’ve been working with the National Weather Service to take a really hard look to try to determine what the actual wind speeds were. The anemometer - instruments that measure the wind - actually stopped working.”

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