by Vanessa Judicpa
Hagåtña – With federal and local officials continuing preliminary joint damage assessments throughout the island today, Governor Eddie Calvo received a briefing this morning by agency heads on progress the Government of Guam (GovGuam) has made following Typhoon Mangkhut.
Damage assessment data will be included in Governor Calvo’s letter to President Donald J. Trump declaring a Major Disaster for the island of Guam. Following damage assessments, the letter is the next step for the Governor, this will allow for Guam to request federal assistance to recover from the damaging winds and rains from Typhoon Mangkhut.
As a sign of improved processes and policies, local officials have taken every precaution to ensure that GovGuam is not in a position where it is forced to repay any federal monies used for the storm recovery, or are denied federal funds as a result of the local government’s ability to document properly.
George Charfaurous Homeland Security Advisor, and Acting Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency Director, advised that both ports of entry into Guam, the Port Authority of Guam and the A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority, are fully operational and back to normal.
No damage to roadways was reported by Glenn Leon Guerrero, Director, Department of Public Works (DPW), and all debris have been cleared and continue to be processed as part of the recovery efforts. Damages sustained by the department are limited to lost or bent traffic signs and lost bulbs or damage to signal lights – which the department is working to address. Additionally, inspections by DPW showed no damage to the island’s existing public bridges.
Guam Housing Corporation (GHC) President, Chris Duenas, was also present at this morning’s briefing and he assured the Governor that “no one will be out on the streets”. Duenas is tasked by the Governor to find long-term solutions for those displaced as a result of Typhoon Mangkhut. GHC is working closely with the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA) to help families transition out of the shelter and into permanent housing through the programs that are available. While some families prefer to go back home and rebuild using materials distributed by the American Red Cross, at least 15 families have long-term solutions available to them through either GHC or GHURA that will provide more stable housing.
While GovGuam continues to move our island forward in this recovery period, Governor Calvo adds, “Let’s thank the good Lord for sparing us. We did our best to prepare our island and our people for a Category 5 storm. I can see improvements between today and from storms past.”