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Red Cross Helps Typhoon, Wildfire Victims

Rocky Fire Response

The American Red Cross is helping people on Saipan after Typhoon Soudelor slammed into the island this week with winds higher than 90 miles per hour. Red Cross workers are also continuing to help those impacted by wildfires in California.

SAIPAN Hundreds of people spent Wednesday night in government operated shelters. In some cases, Red Cross workers provided cots and generators to support these shelters. Damage assessment continues and according to preliminary reports, more than 600 homes on Saipan have been affected. Most of the island is without power. Sewer and water facilities, along with fuel stations are also damaged. Long lines are reported at fuel stations still in service. Even Saipan’s Red Cross office is operating on generators and running low on fuel.

“I have seen multiple primary power poles down; I have seen cars flipped over the road; I have seen lots of torn roofs,” John Hirsh, executive director of the American Red Cross in Saipan, told Pacific Daily News. Damage was “extensive” across the island and there had been significant damage to public infrastructure, he said

Access to Saipan is challenging. The Red Cross is working with corporate and government partners to get relief supplies to Saipan. Hundreds of calls for help have come in to the Red Cross since the storm hit. Red Cross volunteers on the mainland U.S. are also deploying to the region to assist in the relief effort, including a resident of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, who shared his story of wanting to help.

“As part of our Pacific Region, we are prepared to help the Red Cross in Saipan. Volunteers are standing by,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross, Pacific Islands Region.

When relief supplies reach Saipan, Red Cross workers will distribute items such as coolers, comfort kits containing personal hygiene items and stoves to people in the shelters. Red Cross workers will also be meeting one-on-one with people to create recovery plans, navigate paperwork and locate additional support. In some cases, the Red Cross may provide direct financial assistance to people who need extra help.

WILDFIRES Meanwhile, about 25 people spent Wednesday night in Red Cross shelters in California after wildfires threatened their neighborhood. According to emergency officials, the Rocky Fire in Lake County has destroyed more than 20 homes and is threatening almost 7,000 more. More than 1,200 homes are impacted by evacuation orders.

The Red Cross is providing shelter, meals and emotional support to those affected. Evacuees not staying in the shelters can access food, water and cleaning supplies by visiting the shelters. An evacuation center for people’s animals is also available. Red Cross workers are also providing health services, emotional comfort and meeting with people to determine what assistance they need.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP The free Emergency App is highly customizable and informative with alerts, vital emergency information and a “Family Safe” feature to notify loved ones that an alert has been issued in their area and check to see if they are safe. Find it in your app store by searching for American Red Cross.

HOW TO HELP People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. We respond to nearly 70,000 other disasters every year, from home fires to hurricanes and more. Learn more about how Disaster Relief donations have helped people affected by previous disasters including home fires.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.