VAN SUSTEREN ON YUTU:
‘A grossly underreported story’
Super Typhoon Yutu was deemed the strongest typhoon worldwide in 2018, yet its devastating impact on the Commonwealth has been grossly underreported, according to veteran journalist Greta Van Susteren.
The former CNN, Fox News, and NBC News anchor, who came on the disaster relief plane of Samaritan’s Purse, believes that Yutu’s destruction on the islands isn’t as widely known as it should have been, given the intensity of the typhoon.
“This is a grossly underreported story. Saipan is a commonwealth of the United States and I want to put a big spotlight on this because it is underreported and I have the opportunity,” she told Saipan Tribune yesterday. “…I do it because I can and because I believe it is important and the bigger the spotlight, the more likely there will be aid.”
When Super Typhoon Yutu and Saipan or Tinian is mentioned in U.S. media at all, what usually follows is where the islands are and an explanation of the intensity of Yutu, she noted.
Van Susteren currently has a show on Voice of America TV that airs in 47 languages, along with an active social media following of over 1 million on apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
When asked how she plans to spread the word about Yutu, she noted that it has yet to be decided.
Van Susteren told Saipan Tribune that what struck her the most was how tough islanders are as she recalls previous disaster coverage across the globe. “When I go some places, people can hardly pick themselves up from the ground but the people here, they are resilient and in good spirits,” she said.
Samaritan’s Purse’s DC-8 cargo aircraft touched down on Saipan Sunday for a second distribution of relief goods. The second batch included 300 generators as well as several hundred pounds of tarps for makeshift roofs.
“Greta is here in her capacity as a reporter and storyteller,” Samaritan’s Purse team leader Mark Langham told Saipan Tribune. “She has come at her own expense to tell the story of Saipan and the devastation of Super Typhoon Yutu. She feels the story of the typhoon was underreported outside of this region and wants to tell the current situation and the remaining obstacles Saipan faces as the [territory] turns the corner from relief to rebuilding.”
Langham further noted that Van Susteren has also visited Tinian with members of the team.