Saipan Offers To Help Rota, Chuuk

by Edith G. Alejandro

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan Tribune): July 11, 2002 - The Saipan Mayor's Office expressed willingness to help Rota and Chuuk if additional assistance is needed to immediately restore the typhoon ravaged islands.

Mayor's Office Legislative Affairs representative David Rosario said the central government is on top of the situation, adding that there might be no need for the local government's assistance at all.

"I believe that the administration has laid out an effective plan on how to help the state of Chuuk. The central government is working on it. We have not received any official request but the Mayor's Office is willing to help just in case," Rosario stressed.

He explained that the government is looking at ways to be able to provide the needed heavy equipment requested by Chuuk. He also said that the local government is prepared to help should there be a need for more heavy equipment.

"Mayor Juan Tudela will decide on that but we are prepared to help anyone who would be needing our help. But so far, there has been no official request," Rosario said.

Earlier, the Chuuk government said the state needs two 20-ton dump trucks, an excavator, a loader, a bulldozer, a backhoe and a steel wheel roller to help it excavate and clear the landslides that have inundated several towns in the state.

Chuuk Gov. Dr. Ansito Walter has asked the CNMI government for help in the form of heavy equipment, and the Babauta administration is now assessing the equipment it has that could be spared for Chuuk.

Babauta said he has already discussed the matter with the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. and he expects to hear from the utility firm soon whether or not it has the available equipment. Babauta added that they will also determine how the equipment could be sent to Chuuk in the fastest possible manner.

In addition, Babauta said he is also preparing a medical team, utility personnel and law enforcement personnel who would be sent to the Federated States of Micronesia should the need arises. A CUC team may also be deployed to Chuuk to restore the power lines.

Typhoon Chata'an struck the Federated States of Micronesia on July 1, slamming into Chuuk with damaging winds of over 65 mph. Heavy rainfall and strong winds prompted extensive landslides. Most of the villages on Weno and the municipalities of Dublon, Fefan and Udot have reported fatalities and injuries from landslides. Chuuk was declared under a state of emergency on July 3.