Trump approves major disaster declaration for NMI

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GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres on Thursday announced that President Donald J. Trump has approved his request for a major disaster declaration for the CNMI.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency informed the governor that additional federal emergency aid is now available for the Commonwealth to support its recovery efforts in areas affected by Covid-19 since Jan. 20.

The declaration assures that “federal funding is available to the territorial and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct federal assistance under Public Assistance, for all areas affected by Covid-19 at a federal cost share of 75 percent.”

The governor’s additional requests for access to the Individual Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant programs are still undergoing review by FEMA and the White House.

In his announcement, Torres said that FEMA Region IX Administrator Robert J. Fenton has been named as the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas, and that additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further assessments.

“Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and I are sincerely grateful for the continued support and assistance from the White House and FEMA,” the governor said in a statement. “We have been working closely with President Trump and FEMA Region IX Administrator Bob Fenton and the White House as they reviewed my request for a major disaster declaration for the CNMI.”

With this supplementary access and support from the federal government, the Commonwealth will now have additional resources “to further increase its coordinated response efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Torres-Palacios administration said.

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