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Micronesia: Relief agency says hundreds still in Yap shelters

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By Katie Worth

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 22) -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency has so far brought about 100 people to the region to provide support to typhoon-devastated Yap, an agency official said.

The agency also has sent 20,000 gallons of water to Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia, and 23 flight missions with emergency supplies.

Yap was slammed by Typhoon Sudal on April 9, leaving hundreds homeless and the island's utility system in disarray. A recent damage assessment by the International Red Cross put the number of destroyed homes at 700 of the 1,700 residences they found on island. Of the remaining 1,000 homes, only 41 remained undamaged after the typhoon.

John Treanor, the FEMA spokesman on Guam, said about 500 Yap residents still are in the island's 18 shelters. Hundreds more are staying with relatives or sleeping without shelter on their properties.

Of the about 100 FEMA people working on the project, only about 20 are actually on Yap, Treanor said, because of the lack of undamaged hotel rooms and rental cars on the island.

He said the agency hopes to send more representatives to Yap, and will construct shelters for the workers if it is deemed necessary.

Treanor said the initial declaration of disaster allowed FEMA officials to begin helping with debris removal and emergency protective measures such as public health, safety and protection. Federal funding for those projects is 75 percent, he said.

The Yap government also has applied for additional public assistance in the recovery of roads and bridges, water control facilities, buildings and equipment, public utilities and parks and recreational facilities, Treanor said.

The agency also is waiting for Yap to apply to FEMA for individual assistance for its residents, he said. If the individual assistance is granted to Yap, the agency will set up a disaster recovery center where residents whose property has been damaged can apply for financial assistance to help rebuild their lives.

Treanor emphasized that residents should not expect the agency to provide enough assistance to completely recover their property.

"The assistance cannot make them whole, but instead should help them get back on their feet," he said.