Over 5,000 households assisted
The American Red Cross-NMI Chapter is done with their casework, addressing the needs of over 5,000 households on island after the devastation of Typhoon Soudelor.
According to ARC-NMI Chapter executive director John Hirsh, they were able to finish their actual casework this week.
Earlier, Red Cross said it received 9,000 calls through their call center but they were able to eliminate duplicates calls, which lessened it by about 3,000.
However, a resident, who declined to disclose his name, complained to Saipan Tribune yesterday that he still hasn’t received assistance from Red Cross more than a month after registering.
“I called many times and went to their office and they just told me to wait,” the Kagman resident said.
He said he was being “discriminated” and being treated in a “not reasonable way,” especially when a Red Cross representative told him they are no longer giving out financial assistance.
“If they didn’t have enough funds, why did they give $400 to others? Why not give $100 or $200?” the resident asked.
He said his roof was blown off during the typhoon—much like some of his friends who were able to get Red Cross assistance.
He was also found ineligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency’s assistance.
Red Cross not closed
Now that they’re done with their casework, Red Cross is following up and checking those that they might have missed, according to Hirsh.
“If there’s someone who fell between the cracks, or we never got back to, or we made a mistake, we want to know about those people and we want to try to help them and what we’re going to do with them depends on what their emergency needs are right now,” he said.
“If people have an emergency need that haven’t been met yet, we want to talk to these people,” he added.
Hirsh said they are very carefully looking at those who need financial assistance.
“If we see that there is a compelling reason to provide additional financial assistance at this point, then we will go ahead and do that,” he said.
Hirsh pointed out that there were also cases when some members of the same household already received assistance.
“Sometimes we had a lot of people, so-and-so didn’t get assistance, but when we go to that house, the son who was living in the house got assistance, not the head of the household,” he said.
However, Hirsh said he wants to know about anyone who feels they didn’t get properly served by the Red Cross so they would be able to work on it with their casework team.
“There’s never a situation where I’m not going to call someone back. What we’re going to do is look closely at what we’ve done on our side, is this person on our list, did we really have an appointment with them, and if the answer is yes, and for some reason, we made a mistake or we didn’t get to this person, we need to go visit them,” Hirsh said.
“The door is never closed or locked for the Red Cross. We, the local chapter, [are] here, we will always be here,” he added.