The USAID Deputy Mission Director Clay Epperson visited the Federated States of Micronesia (Chuuk State and Pohnpei State) from January 19-24, 2018. The purpose of the visit was to attend a close-out ceremony in Chuuk State for Typhoon Maysak. Deputy Director Epperson was accompanied by Mr. Robert Pierce, a colleague from the USAID Office in Manila.
Subsequent to the visit in Chuuk, Deputy Director Epperson and Mr. Pierce visited Pohnpei and along with US Ambassador Robert Riley and Deputy Chief of Mission Joanne Cummings, paid a courtesy call on Vice-President Yosiwo P. George.
During the call, Vice-President George welcomed and thanked Mr. Epperson for the visit to the Capital and expressed his appreciation for the assistance provided by the USAID to the FSM, especially in the affected areas of Yap and Chuuk States. He also indicated that the joint collaboration between the US and the FSM during the recovery efforts strengthens people-to-people contacts and relations as confirmed during his visit to Chuuk, whereby the Vice-President witnessed first-hand complementary working relation exemplified by USAID contractors and local laborers. The Vice-President also mentioned that the skill acquired through the joint collaborative work is important for the FSM citizens as the FSM is anticipating demand for labor recruitment for the Guam military build-up.
Ambassador Riley reciprocated by thanking the Vice-President for the call and indicating the success for close-out of Maysak projects in Chuuk, whereby Chuuk State was presented with a plaque certifying USAID projects completion. Ambassador Riley also mentioned that the funding of USAID projects in Chuuk and Yap is provided by US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which totaled to $50 million dollars. Ambassador Riley further shared the importance of supporting Climate Ready project which operates under the umbrella of USAID to provide assistance in capacity building, among others.
The Deputy Director also paid a courtesy call on Senator David Panuelo who was designated to receive the Deputy Director on behalf of Speaker Wesley Simina. Senator Panuelo expressed appreciation for the massive work executed by the USAID and assured that Congress supported such undertaking and has appropriated matching funds for natural disasters. The Senator also indicated that in the FSM one of the setbacks in building structures is the application and use of appropriate building codes that could withstand typhoons and further advised that preparedness is important because natural disaster will always come our way.
Attending the courtesy calls on Vice President George were Assistant Secretary Elina Paul of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management and staffs from the President Office and Department of Foreign Affairs.