The American Red Cross-NMI Chapter has provided financial assistance to over 4,000 families on Saipan and Tinian who were severely impacted by Super Typhoon Yutu.
Last week, the ARC- NMI Chapter officially ended the interview process to determine those eligible for financial assistance. According to ARC- NMI Chapter executive director John Hirsh, financial assistance was given to 4,865 families across Saipan and Tinian.
Hirsh estimated that over $2 million was used up.
“Some 4,865 families…got some level of financial assistance. …I think we gave over $2 million in financial assistance and we gave out hundreds of thousands worth of relief items,” he said.
The amount of financial assistance the chapter gave out depended on the amount of damage sustained by each house and the number of people in the household.
“The people eligible for our financial program were the people whose homes were the most damaged…we helped close to 5,000 families, but there could be 15,000 families…who were impacted at some level. Everybody was affected…could be a power outage, or they lost all their food as a result of the storm,” he said.
With the completion of the Red Cross’ role in emergency assistance, it has now shifted into helping partner agencies that are focused on long-term recovery.
“We’re done. But we are working closely with all our partners in the community, whether it be Karidat [Social Services], Salvation Army, the Governor’s Office, or the [Temporary Emergency Tent and Roofing Installation Support] program. …Our next step is really to try and help support organizations involved in the longer-term recovery work, those who help people rebuild their homes,” said Hirsh.
The chapter is referring people who need additional help to partner agencies.
“We’re still referring people to the other agencies…all the different programs that are out there and helping. We are acting as a clearinghouse for information,” he added.
Hirsh said the chapter is an emergency program meant to serve the community for the first few weeks following a major disaster.
“It’s really only for those first few weeks after a disaster where we provide emergency relief. The longer-term recovery work is possible from [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] and other organizations in the community,” he said.