The American Red Cross and Saipan residents are bracing themselves for two new tropical storms threatening this remote U.S. territory.
Typhoon Soudelor blasted Saipan, part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, last week, leaving most of the island without power, water and sewer facilities. The new tropical systems are likely to bring new 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 Hawaii.
"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."
From Typhoon Soudelor alone, over 1,100 homes were affected, including nearly 600 that were completely destroyed or suffered major damage. About 600 residents sought refuge in government-run shelters and 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
It’s important that those affected by these tropical storms stay in contact with loved ones and 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. People can register by visiting redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
How You Can Help
Hawaii residents can donate to the American Red Cross relief efforts in Saipan at Bank of Hawaii 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. Visit redcross.org/donate, 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.