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.
"For an island devastated by a massive typhoon and left with no electricity or water, these people are incredibly good natured and generous," said Julie Bradley, a Red Cross volunteer from Arizona deployed to Saipan. "There is a real fear here in Saipan that although they are part of the American territories in the Pacific, they will be overlooked by the traditional generosity of Americans towards one another."
Typhoon Soudelor damaged more than 1,100 homes, including nearly 600 that were destroyed or suffered major damage. With a local office on Saipan and a group of dedicated volunteers, the Red Cross helped people prepare as Typhoon Soudelor moved in and was on site immediately to support sheltering, feeding and damage assessment efforts.
Thousands of people – more than 4,600 – have already called seeking help. More than 200 people spent Thursday night in government-operated shelters and that number is likely to increase over the weekend as the new tropical systems bring heavy rain and high winds to the island. The Red Cross has already provided more than 14,000 meals and handed out more than 26,000 emergency relief items.
"Right now the people of Saipan depend on the Red Cross for the supplies of daily living; everything from food to cooking and cleaning items," continued Bradley. "Recovery will be long and expensive, and I hope that although Saipan is far from the mainland, generous donors keep them in mind."
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 TO HELP People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, 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.
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 redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.