Mitigation grants totaling $24.4 million for the Territory of Guam have been approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The money is being made available under FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), pursuant to the presidential disaster declaration for Supertyphoon Pongsona, which occurred in December 2002.
The funding is to help pay for major projects undertaken by the Guam Power Authority, the Guam International Airport Authority, the Department of Land Management, the Department of Education, Guam Community College and Guam Memorial Hospital.
HMGP funds are based on a percentage of the total disaster assistance funds provided to Guam after a disaster. The program is aimed at reducing the impact of future disasters on people and property.
“These projects encompass efforts to make Guam more disaster-resistant,” said Karen Armes, acting regional director of FEMA Region IX. “Mitigation is a cornerstone of FEMA’s mission to prevent damage from typhoons and earthquakes that visit this beautiful Pacific island.”
Supertyphoon Pongsona caused millions of dollars in damages to the island. Loss of electrical power and shattered buildings across much of the island jeopardized lives, destroyed homes and important facilities, and created serious losses for many of the businesses in the area.
The total cost of the approved mitigation projects is $27,333,755. Of that sum, FEMA is providing $24,407,242.
Generally, FEMA gives 75 percent of eligible project costs, with the remaining 25 percent coming from local resources. In this case, FEMA is paying 90 percent, except for one electrical power project, for which FEMA will cover 85 percent. Local agencies are picking up the remaining percentages of the projects’ total costs.
Guam Power Authority will receive more than $11.5 million to help pay for four projects to replace concrete poles and overhead lines with a primary and a secondary underground transmission and distribution system in various areas of the island.
A grant amounting to nearly $5.9 million to the Guam International Airport Authority is for “hardening” (toughening) the electrical power system for critical airport facilities in the south of Tiyan, through the installation of underground power distribution lines. The project will help ease power restoration efforts and provide electric service more promptly in the event of a typhoon.
Nearly $2.8 million going to the Department of Land Management (DLM) is for the acquisition of identified flood-prone lands in Hagåtña and demolition of structures on those properties. Upon acquisition and demolition, DLM will convert the area into open space for public park use.
The Department of Education is to use its grant of more than $1.7 million to pay for professional services for flood control measures, which will consist of providing culverts, gutters, water diversion systems, pond basins or other types of catchment systems at the 16 designated emergency shelters. This islandwide project is aimed at protecting those shelters from future flood damages.
Guam Community College in Mangilao will use its approximately $1.3 million in grant funds to install drainage lines, relocate a parking driveway and gate, and install a low concrete masonry unit or a reinforced concrete wall.
The $1.2 million plus for Guam Memorial Hospital in Tamuning will be used for the cost of hardening the main lobby area. Mitigation work will be done on the lobby security booth, walkways and front stairwell. An enclosure will be constructed with concrete and glass blocks and the floor upgraded to non-skid finish.
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