‘Ayuda Luta’ relief drive raises over $8K for Rota

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The Saipan community came together last Saturday to aid those affected by Typhoon Mangkhut on Rota and managed to raise over $8,000 in monetary donations and fill three 10-foot cargo containers at the Garapan Fishing Base.

The cargo containers, filled with relief goods, arrived on the island of Rota via a Pacific Marine Enterprises ferry last Tuesday.

The relief goods were collected during the Ayuda Luta Relief Drive that took place last Saturday—a collaborative effort among the Lady Diann Torres Foundation, the CNMI Fire and EMS Association, the Office of the Governor, the CNMI Women’s Association, and various government agencies.

The CNMI Fire and EMS Association also did a boot drive during the relief operation. A similar boot drive was held on Tinian and the $8,000 that was raised was a compilation of all the money raised from both boot drives, according to first lady Diann Torres. The exact amount was not immediately available.

Torres said the Ayuda Luta Relief Drive was such a success that it exceeded the initial number of containers they were planning to send to Rota.

The initial plan was to ship out two 10-foot containers filled with relief goods to the island of Rota. One container was originally set to be shipped out this week, and the second was set to be shipped out next week after the next scheduled drive.

Due to the amount of support the relief drive received from the Saipan community, all two containers were filled on the first drive and a third container was needed and was also immediately filled.

Torres said the relief drive was a major success and individuals affected by Typhoon Mangkhut will receive everything they could possibly need like clothing, food, water, weather heads, and more.

Torres credited the success of the relief drive not only to the agencies that helped coordinate the event, but to those who gave their time and donations, including private companies and various schools. “Without them, success wouldn’t have been possible,” she added.

The goods from the relief drive were distributed to Typhoon Mangkhut victims yesterday, with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres himself personally helping out.

Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig said it was overwhelming to see the outpouring of support they have gotten from both Saipan and Tinian communities.

“It was overwhelming to see the outpouring of support from our brothers and sisters from Saipan and Tinian…. I am so happy, no words can describe how happy we are,” he said. “Times like these really show that if we work together, recovery is faster,.”

Ayuda Luta was able to gather disaster relief supplies such as food, water, portable gas stoves and butane, cleaning supplies, fans, clothing, school supplies, and toiletries for the impacted families.

Monetary donations collected during the boot drives will be disbursed by the American Red Cross-NMI Chapter this week to families most in need post-Mangkhut.

The American Red Cross is seeking volunteers to assist in the distribution of disaster emergency supplies to households.

The ARC advises that disaster emergency supply kits will be distributed evenly to all households on Rota.

“We will be going house-to-house beginning at 1PM today and will continue to do so for the next two days until each household is in receipt of a disaster supply kit as supplied by the Ayuda Luta donation drive,” said Randy Neeman, American Red Cross-NMI Chapter disaster lead.

The American Red Cross will not be distributing any supplies out of their distribution center. Instead, volunteers will be assisting with ensuring supply kits are delivered to each family on island directly to their homes. If residents are not home, volunteers will leave the supply kit by their doorsteps.

Also available for disaster relief through the Ayuda Luta Drive are bottles of water and clothing for adults and children.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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