Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

National and State Government Officials participate in Two-Day Intensive Disaster Mitigation, Relief and Reconstruction Workshop

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): October 21, 2010 - On October 18 and 19, FSM National and State Officials, the US Joint Task Force Homeland Defense and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) facilitated an intensive tabletop exercise to review the Operational Blueprint established by the US Department of Homeland Security and USAID. The blueprint outlines the manner in which aid can be provided by the US to the FSM, should a disaster event, such as a typhoon, occur in any of the four FSM States.

The event took place at the Pohnpei Governor's Conference Room and was attended by more than 75 participants, including Director Yatilman of the Office of Environment and Emergency Management, and representatives of the FSM Department of Justice, the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs, the FSM National Police, the FSM Department of Resources and Development, the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs, the FSM Department of Finance and Administration, the FSM Office of National Archives, Culture and Historical Preservation, and from the Office of Statistics, Budget, and Economic Management, Overseas Development Assistance and Compact Management. Also present were representatives from the Chuuk, Yap, Kosrae and Pohnpei State Governments.

Bart Deemer, USAID Disaster Assistance Coordinator for the FSM, assisted in coordinating the workshop with the participation of representatives from FEMA Region IX, the Joint Task Force Homeland Defense, the International Organization for Migration, the US Army Pacific, the US Department of Defense, the US Department of Agriculture National Resources Conservation Service, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Small Business Administration, the United States Coast Guard, the US Embassy in FSM, the Micronesia Red Cross Society, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the Asia Foundation, and the World Health Organization.

All participants broke down into four groups to work through three proposed modules: typhoon preparedness, typhoon impact, and response and typhoon post-impact reconstruction. The teams worked through each module using potential real life examples of a category 3 typhoon approaching FSM and causing up to 90% of the private residences throughout FSM inhabitable. The tabletop exercise allowed all parties to analyze, plan and coordinate the actions they should take before, during and after a disaster event to minimize as much as possible risks for the residents of FSM.

From a procedural standpoint: it is expected that the President of FSM will first need to declare a national state of emergency and make use of the country's own resources, including the FSM's Disaster Assistance Emergency Fund (DAEF) of $200,000; should the FSM need further assistance, the Government is required to request assistance from UNOCHA. If the DAEF funds and UN funds are inadequate, the President can ask the US Ambassador of FSM for the approval of an additional $50,000, for emergency purposes, from USAID. As a last recourse and if all prior steps have been taken, the FSM President can request from the US President a US Presidential Disaster Declaration for the FSM. Such a request will have to include descriptions of the amount and severity of the disaster-related impacts and provide preliminary estimates of types and amounts of supplemental assistance needed from the US Government.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356