Red Cross Updates Saipan Relief Efforts
By Maui Now Staff
The American Red Cross and Saipan residents are bracing themselves for two new tropical storms threatening the remote US territory.
Last week, Typhoon Soudelor blasted Saipan, part of the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, leaving most of the island without power, water and sewer facilities. New tropical systems are likely to bring additional flooding and further damage the battered island.
“Typhoon Soudelor is the biggest storm to hit Saipan in 30 years, and the situation is desperate and about to get worse,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the American Red Cross, Pacific Islands Region, which includes the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Hawai‘i. “We have 90 American Red Cross workers on Saipan who are sheltering in place as they monitor the storm closely. We are keeping our fingers crossed that these storms spare the island of a second round of destruction.”
Typhoon Soudelor affected over 1,100 homes, including nearly 600 that were completely destroyed or suffered major damage. About 600 residents sought refuge in government-run shelters; this number is expected to have grown with the approaching storms.
The Red Cross has already opened close to 700 cases and have provided over 21,700 meals and snacks, over 2,000 health and mental health contacts and over 38,500 emergency relief items to those in need.
Because of the extensive damage, the Red Cross has created a robust relief plan to get immediate help to people who need it. The program combines financial assistance with critical supplies to help people begin to recover. Relief supplies include items such as rice, canned foods, hygiene products and cleaning supplies for thousands of people in the hardest hit areas.
Connecting with Family
Those affected by these tropical storms should stay in contact with loved ones; the Red Cross Safe and Well website can help people do that. Safe and Well is a secure, easy-to-use online tool to help families connect in an emergency. Register online or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
How You Can Help
Hawai‘i residents can donate to the American Red Cross relief efforts in Saipan at Bank of Hawai‘i branches across the state. Check donations may be made payable to “American Red Cross — Saipan Disaster Relief” and deposited at any Bank of Hawaii branch. Cash donations are also being accepted.
Residents can also help people affected by disasters like Typhoon Soudelor and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Go online or call 1-800-REDCROSS.
Contributions may also be sent to the Hawaii Red Cross chapter, which is part of the Pacific Region that includes Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
Video of Red Cross Typhoon Relief Work in Saipan