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NMI plan details economic costs of Mangkhut and Yutu

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THE $244 million awarded to the CNMI through the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program will address the needs of the Commonwealth following the Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu disasters as  stated in the action plan submitted by the Northern Marianas Housing Corp. in collaboration with the Office of the Governor.

NMHC data in the CNMI CDBG-DR action plan stated that 3,089 owner-occupied homes on Saipan and 319 on Tinian were damaged.

Of these homes, 1,283 on Saipan and 103 on Tinian were considered to have serious damage.

In addition, 4,285 rental homes on Saipan and 374 on Tinian were damaged.

Of these rental homes, 2,559 on Saipan and 213 on Tinian were considered to have serious damage.

The 2010 Census data showed that there were roughly 20,850 owner-occupied, rental, and vacant units in the CNMI, and that 62% of the 53,883 people living in the CNMI were renters.

The median cost for rent was $324 per rental unit, and the median home value amounted to $123,800.

Before Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu data showed that there were about 300 homeless households in the CNMI.

After the storms, that number increased to over 900, primarily due to the loss and damage to housing stock.

A homeless count conducted in 2019 showed that the CNMI had 1,384 homeless people.

        Project applications

As part of the preparation of the CDBG-DR action plan for the Commonwealth, project applications were submitted by the following offices, authorities, and other entities that incurred significant post-typhoon damage: Micronesian Legal Services Corporation, the CNMI judiciary, the Northern Marianas Trades Institute, the CNMI Office of Homeland Security, the Marianas Visitors Authority, the Office of the Mayor of Saipan, the Office of the Mayor of Rota, the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, the Commonwealth Ports Authority, Northern Marianas College, the Office of the Mayor of Tinian, the Public School System, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., the Department of Public Works, and the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.

Economic impact

Following Mangkhut and Yutu, which hit all three major islands of the CNMI, projected overall business revenue for the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 fell by 14.53%.

Based on a conservative outlook of this quarter in particular, the CNMI incurred $51.58 million in estimated total loss in indirect economic activity.

Data from the Marianas Visitors Authority indicated that the estimated total loss in indirect activity was $83.57 million.    

Almost a third of civilian jobs in the Commonwealth are in service industries such as hotels, restaurants, retail, education, healthcare, and construction.

Businesses on island include tourism and hospitality, restaurants, car rentals, retail and wholesale stores, construction, farming, and private schools.

The CNMI said its overall recovery plan includes investments in skilled workforce development and institutions of higher education, as well as supporting tourism enhancement projects.

Tourism is the largest economic activity in the Commonwealth, with a total revenue of $1.1 billion or 72% of the overall gross domestic product in 2017.

The disaster recovery plan does not include the unprecedented losses incurred by the CNMI due to the Covid-19 global pandemic.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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