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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Biden Approves Major Disaster Declaration for Guam

Guam’s International Airport remains closed to commercial traffic with commercial services anticipated to resume, at the earliest, on Tuesday, May 30.

President Biden granted a major disaster declaration for Guam on Thursday, which unlocks additional FEMA funding to help the territory respond to and recover from Typhoon Mawar. The disaster declaration allows for federal funding to be available for emergency protective measures to help eliminate threats to public health and safety.

More than 400 FEMA personnel are supporting response activities in the Pacific, with more than 160 in Guam. Voluntary organizations, along with local and territory officials, are conducting feeding operations in both Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. FEMA is also coordinating with its network of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters to provide support and humanitarian aid. More than 120 voluntary personnel are headed to the impacted areas and 80 local staff are available to support the distribution of supplies and perform assessments.

Governors of both territories lifted sheltering orders; however, communications and cell service remain intermittent due to network outages. Anyone trying to reach friends or relatives in the impacted areas should remain patient as outages are being restored. 

Federal, Territorial and Voluntary Actions

  • The Guam Power Authority started restoration efforts, reporting more than 40% of substations have been restored, with power restored at Guam Memorial Hospital, Guam Regional Medical Center and Guam Airport Authority. There are more than 100 generators on the island to help provide power to critical facilities.
  • Additional generators are being sent to Rota, where most customers remain without power. Only isolated power service interruptions in Saipan.
  • Feeding and bottled water missions began on May 26, with a priority to distribute to healthcare facilities and shelters. All of Guam and Rota drinking and wastewater systems have been impacted by power outages and are under boil water advisories.
  • Shelters remain open on both the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. Feeding operations are underway in Guam’s shelters where approximately 1,000 people remain.
  • Guam’s International Airport remains closed to commercial traffic with commercial services anticipated to resume, at the earliest, on Tuesday, May 30.
  • The Red Cross is working with local emergency management to meet the needs of the communities affected. As many as 200 trained disaster workers and emergency supplies are being deployed to the Pacific. The American Red Cross of Guam hotline is operational: 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
  • The National Disaster Distress Helpline is also activated and anyone who has been affected by Typhoon Mawar can call 1-800-985-5990 for immediate counseling and support.
  • FEMA mission assigned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to assist with temporary emergency power, temporary roofing and debris management support. USACE deployed personnel to provide public works and engineering technical expertise.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services deployed two medical teams with a third team remaining on alert status for the Pacific.

Damage assessments are ongoing in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands as the territories continue to experience power outages, water service disruptions and local flooding events. Flood watches remain for both the territories through Saturday. Residents should remain cautious and avoid floodwaters as they may contain downed power lines or waste that can lead to illness.

Safety Messages

  • As power remains unrestored in many areas, residents using power generators should always use them outside to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • For those seeking the status of family members or friends on the island but are having trouble connecting, the communications and electrical systems are being repaired and stabilized at this time. For real time updates, visit the following links for the latest information:

Read more at FEMA

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Homeland Security Today
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.
Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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