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HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 29) - Ten federal
agencies agreed Sunday to explore ways to work together to help Guam and the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands harden their infrastructure so that
they will be better able to survive the next major typhoon, according to the
Department of Interior's Office of Insular Affairs.

At a meeting organized by the Office of Insular Affairs, Guam
Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, David Fukutomi of the Federal Emergency Management
Agency and several federal officials discussed Guam and CNMI infrastructure
needs in the aftermath of two devastating typhoons in a five-month period.
Typhoon Chata'an slammed Guam in July, followed by Supertyphoon Pongsona in

"Congresswoman Bordallo and others from Guam, including
Ramona Jones, helped the people in Washington to really understand how difficult
the recovery effort has been for Guam and the CNMI," David Cohen, deputy
assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs, is quoted as saying in
the release.

Jones is an Office of Insular Affairs special adviser for
economic policy.

FEMA's mission is to restore infrastructure to the same
condition it was in before a disaster, not to upgrade it, so the meeting was
organized to work together to help the islands harden their infrastructure,
Cohen said in the release.

Cohen cautioned that the interagency group may not result in
increased resources for the region.

"This may not make more federal resources available for
infrastructure hardening, but it will hopefully allow the resources that are
available to be allocated more efficiently and effectively," Cohen is
quoted as saying in the release.

Among the federal officials who attended were the Department of
Agriculture' Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service, Hilda Gay Legg; the
Department of Energy's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy
Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Douglas Faulkner; the Small Business
Administration's Associate Administrator for Disaster Assistance, Herbert
Mitchell; the Acting Director of the Department of Transportation's Office of
Emergency Transportation, Janet Benini; as well as representatives from the
Navy, the departments of Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, and the Army
Corps of Engineers.

April 29, 2003

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