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Red Cross Helping People on Saipan After Typhoon Devastates Most of Island

Damage extensive; power will be out for weeks

WASHINGTON D.C. - August 10, 2015 — The American Red Cross is helping people in Saipan, part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, after Typhoon Soudelor blasted the island last week.

The storm hit Saipan with winds higher than 90 mph leaving most of the island without power, water and sewer facilities. The power may be out for more than a month. Preliminary reports indicate more than 1,100 homes are damaged.

“Saipan is facing the worst damage that locals have seen for decades,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “We have dozens of volunteers working around the clock to make sure people have the support they need and more help is on the way.”

With a local office on Saipan and a group of dedicated volunteers, the Red Cross responded immediately to support sheltering, feeding and damage assessment efforts. More than 2,000 calls have come in from people seeking help, adding up to almost five percent of the population. More than 500 people spent Sunday night in government-operated shelters and the Red Cross has already provided more than 11,000 meals.

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 leave emergency shelters and begin recovering from Soudelor. Relief supplies include items such as rice, canned meat, hygiene products, stoves and cleaning supplies for thousands of people in the hardest hit areas. Supplies including rice cookers and thousands of comfort items are on the way to Saipan now.

Access to Saipan is challenging. The Red Cross is working with corporate and government partners to get relief supplies to Saipan. Red Cross volunteers on the mainland U.S. are also deploying to the region to assist in the relief effort.

“Saipan is going to need help for some time and the Red Cross will be there to support recovery efforts, said Kieserman. “The best way to help right now, is to make a financial donation to support Red Cross disaster relief.”

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, typhoons and more. Learn more about how Disaster Relief donations have helped people affected by previous disasters including home fires.