Arranged temporary accommodations for affected employees
After being hit by the worst typhoon in a number of years, Saipan is still in a state of shock.While the government is working hard to ensure the safety of the people on this island and focusing on recovering from the devastation, Best Sunshine International Ltd. has quickly begun their own recovery efforts to ensure the safety of their own staff. The company has a number of local employees as well as foreign professionals in their ranks. As a result, handling their accommodations has become a priority for Best Sunshine.
Best Sunshine has initiated an outreach program for the local staff with the immediate goal of providing water, food, and accommodations for displaced employees. Some local employees whose houses were badly damaged have contacted Best Sunshine directly and for the rest, Best Sunshine has reached out and is arranging temporary accommodations for them at the Mango Resort as well as apartments at Flame Tree Resort. In addition, Best Sunshine is also prioritizing the safety of the families of the local staff and providing accommodations. Other dealers who have moved to work on Saipan and were staying in hotels during the typhoon have come together and volunteered to help repair homes of the local employees. Best Sunshine is also in talks to help organize efforts and supplies for construction.
Lauryn Hunter, a member of the Simmons Group, an HR consulting team working with the Best Sunshine HR team, said: “It’s all hands on deck. There are three to four administrators that are beginning a call center. There are two to three dealers per department to check on the status of Best Sunshine employees. The executive team is coordinating transportation and homes, and the table game staff are coordinating for locating people and needs.”
Besides providing accommodations, Best Sunshine is also delivering diesel and water to residences occupied by their staff.
Leo Primo, a Best Sunshine dealer and CNMI resident, said: “What we need most is water. A place to stay is important too. Some of the hotel rooms are expensive, one evening is $98.”
One spokesperson from Best Sunshine said, “I don’t think the outside world understands that nobody drinks regular water on Saipan, everybody drinks bottled water. On one hand we have a natural disaster, it’s a good thing that you don’t have to worry about the water being contaminated, but on the other hand, you have to drink bottled water to survive.” Best Sunshine has distributed five gallons of water to each of their staff with more to come.
Best Sunshine is also planning to arrange laundry service for their staff. Due to the water supply shortage, their employees are unable to wash their clothes. “We are in a situation where there is too much heat and people are sweating, and water for washing clothes is hard to access…It’s a bad situation,” said the same spokesperson while talking about the laundry service they plan to provide.
To address transportation needs, Best Sunshine currently has a 15-seat van fully operating and transporting water and food for their staff. However, the van runs on gasoline and it takes hours to refill the fuel tank due to long lines and shortage of gasoline as well. When asked about the difficulties regarding the transportation, a representative for Best Sunshine replied, “It will be so much more convenient if we have a bus that runs on diesel, because there is enough supply of diesel in the fuel stations, I believe. I would advise everyone to conserve their gasoline for future use”
When asked about ways to recover from this crisis, the Best Sunshine spokesperson said: “You can see that people with all different titles and different expertise are hunkering down and using whatever skillsets they have to get through this crisis, and try to have some sustained operation. That is the new way of life, until the power comes back up.”
Matthew Harkness, COO of Best Sunshine, said: “I’ve been on the island for about four months and the community has been wonderful, and the reception that we have received here speaks well of the culture that this island has…people here are open-in-arms. When we speak to our employees, they first express concern about their friends, their neighbors, and their families.” (Best Sunshine)