The American Red Cross-NMI Chapter is about two-thirds complete in its recovery efforts for Saipan and Tinian.
ARC executive director John Hirsh told the Rotary Club of Saipan last Tuesday that the organization has provided over 23,700 overnight stays in shelters; served 116,775 meals and snacks; handed out 2,584 cases of water; handed out 6,510 cleanup and sanitation kits; 9,153 hygiene kits; 131,966 emergency supplies; and 10,217 households were given supplies since Yutu hit in late October.
“We were able to leverage technology this time,” said Hirsh explaining how the organization achieved these numbers. He said that with the help of geo-location apps, the organization was able to get to houses that would have been overlooked otherwise.
With Hirsh was ARC Southeast Michigan Chapter’s Sue Kohfeldt, who was also on Saipan representing ARC in response to Typhoon Soudelor in 2015.
“This is my fourth trip to Saipan. I came during Soudelor and I just fell in love with the islands,” she told the Rotarians. “When I left and said [I will be back], this was not my plan and I apologize,” she said with a chuckle, referring to her role in disaster response for Yutu.
Kohfeldt is one of 220 volunteers under ARC that are responding to Typhoon Yutu.
“We want to make sure that everybody is taken cared of; that is our mission,” she said, adding that assistance would be provided regardless of immigration status.
ARC has 809 volunteers trained for Yutu support along with support from businesses and government partners.
Hirsh further noted that ARC has opened 3,338 cases for families with destroyed homes—with an average of three to four people per household.
“We helped about 11,000 people,” said Hirsh, adding that 3,271 debit cards were handed out to clients for monetary assistance, amounting to over $1.4 million in financial assistance.
According to Hirsh, there remains about 1,000 homes that need to be helped.