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American Red Cross Response to Saipan Update 8-24-15

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"Our entire roof flew away and our home was flooded."

The American Red Cross continues to provide relief to those affected by Typhoon Souledor on Saipan, but not without local volunteers, like 13-year old, Denisse Oscillos or “Angel”, as she is called by family and friends on Saipan (1st photo above from right to left). The Red Cross was founded by volunteers and Oscillos exuviates the humanitarian spirit of the organization. Her home wasn’t severely damaged by Soudelor, but she was upset to see the damage her beautiful island incurred. “I cried-I felt so sorry for the people,” said Oscillos. “I’ve been volunteering with the Red Cross for about six years now. I help at walkathons and fire responses. I like helping people-it’s fun.”     

Gil Muña, of Saipan, was inspired to volunteer for the American Red Cross after the horrific events on Sept. 11, 2001 (2nd photo above from right to left). He saw how the organization responded, and wanted to help however possible. “Red Cross is global, and right here in my community,” said Muña. Since then he’s volunteered consistently locally, in Tinian twice, and served in response to Hurricane Sandy. Little did he know Typhoon Soudelor would hit his home island on Aug. 2 devastating his family and community. “Our entire roof flew away and our home was flooded,” Putting his own problems aside, Muña immediately sprung into action, put on his Red Cross gear and showed up to help others at the Red Cross Northern Mariana Island Chapter office. “I’ve seen my family suffer; all we can do is reach out to others and help take care of our people.” Muña has volunteered at the Red Cross office nearly every day since the typhoon hit.

Anna-Kay Ellis of New York loads a vehicle with relief supplies to take to a homeowner whose roof was completely peeled off during Typhoon Soudelor’s landfall (3rd photo above from right to left).. Ellis has been volunteering with the American Red Cross for two years and says her work in Saipan is meaningful. “This is definitely an experience to learn from. The people here are so gracious and appreciative of what we’re doing,”

Through Aug. 23, the Red Cross has served almost 6,500 people on Saipan by providing more than 28,000 meals and snacks, more than 1,700 cleanup kits and more than 60,000 bulk items such as food, water, soap and toilet paper. Those in need receive emotional support, health services, and household items.

Anyone who has already registered with the Red Cross should not call back. The Red Cross will make contact as quickly as possible. Calling 234-3459 is free when made with most prepaid phones. Due to high call volumes, patience is appreciated and calls after hours are preferred. Those seeking assistance should not visit the Red Cross office without an appointment. 

Please follow the Red Cross NMI Chapter on Twitter @spnmarianas for real time updates.

How to help: People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. Donors can also make a donation specifically to the American Red Cross Northern Marianas Islands Chapter by emailing executive director, John Hirsh at john.hirsch@redcross.org or by calling 670-288-1041. 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 disasters every year, from home fires to hurricanes, typhoons and more. Learn more about how Disaster Relief donations have helped people affected by previous disasters including home fires.