Oct. 24 marked the one-year anniversary of Super Typhoon Yutu’s landfall in the Marianas. It’s a time to count our blessings and to remember that when we unite as a community, we can overcome any challenge.
As we reflect on this anniversary, I want to applaud all the organizations and businesses that stepped up to help our community recover.
I want to thank our sister company, IP&E, and our partner, SK Telecom, for helping us donate $250,000 in funds and much-needed items for the recovery effort.
I want to thank our IT&E team that worked tirelessly to restore mobile services to our subscribers in the Marianas. The day after the typhoon, our teams were assessing damage, restoring mobile services and attending to generators to maintain our service. Our wireline services, including landline telephone and internet, remained operable.
When disaster strikes, our natural reaction is to call our loved ones to let them know that we’re safe. Being connected to family and friends during a natural disaster is crucial and fundamental to the wellbeing of our friends, neighbors and family.
For an upcoming campaign, we heard first-hand from several of our subscribers about their experience during the storm and how being connected made a big difference for them.
We heard from a member of the emergency response industry that was coordinating relief efforts on Tinian. He was able to use his mobile device and data to stay connected with his organizations and all the residents seeking help. We heard from a public servant on Saipan who was busing vulnerable residents to shelters as Yutu approached, using his mobile phone to get directions from panicked residents.
In the aftermath, connecting with family, friends and the community is key to rebuilding.
During our interviews for the campaign, families told us about how they kept their and their children’s minds off the hardships by watching their favorite shows and movies. We heard from a nonprofit organization that performed outreach to the community and aided residents.
This weekend, the First Lady Diann Torres Foundation hosted the Resiliency Fest in recognition of the anniversary of Yutu. The event was an opportunity for us to remember that, no matter the challenges and hardships, we are strong and are resilient, both individually and as a community.
IT&E donated internet services so that the festival was streamed live online. We thank first lady Diann Torres and her foundation for giving us the opportunity to contribute to this fantastic event.
By streaming the event, we showed the whole world that we continue to persevere. We know friends and family off-island were watching, proving that one doesn’t need to be physically here in our islands to be #marianasstrong.
That’s the power of technology. Our bonds are already strong, but the network at IT&E is the tool to maintain those bonds.
In closing, we are blessed this year to have been spared the full wrath of Typhoon Hagibis, which brushed past the CNMI only to go on to devastate Japan. We are also blessed that Typhoon Bualoi simply passed the CNMI without much damage.
But no matter what comes our way, we are resilient. We will overcome. We will continue to stay connected to what matters most.
Rose A. Soledad is the general manager of IT&E. She has over 27 years of experience in the telecommunications industry.