Red Cross teams visit the most vulnerable

Casework resumes today

The American Red Cross sent teams around Saipan yesterday to visit some of the most vulnerable on the island following the destruction brought by Typhoon Soudelor and the effects made by the latest cyclone, Tropical Storm Goni.

Due to Goni’s passage through the CNMI over the weekend, the chapter office was closed Saturday until yesterday and appointments had to be pushed back but ARC teams kept working throughout the day.

“We’re just trying to find people who are especially vulnerable,” ARC disaster response operations director Denise Everhart said. “At the same time we can look into what did this latest storm do.”

“When our assessors went out there, they identified that this person needed special help so we are here to help them,” ARC public affairs manager Laurie Nehring said.

Everhart said they are trying to help families get by until they are able to talk personally with ARC with their casework. Some of the things that ARC is giving out are cleanup kits, tarps, buckets, food, and water.

One resident that Red Cross was able to visit was Thomas Reyes, whose home was so severely damaged by Typhoon Soudelor that he is forced to sleep in his car.

“When I see the Red Cross, I feel good. I see that sign and I know help is on the way,” Reyes said.

Some damaged homes were doubly hit hard by the heavy rain and gusty winds brought by Tropical Storm Goni.

One household that ARC visited in Chinatown had nine families living in a clustered structure. Residents said that all of their things got drenched and all of them had to seek shelter in a nearby house to be able to keep dry when Goni brought in rain.

The Red Cross surveyed not only Saipan but also Tinian, Rota and Guam, assessing the four islands’ greatest needs and looking for families in urgent need of assistance.

Today ARC will begin meeting with those who have scheduled an appointment to receive services.

Everhart encouraged those who haven’t called yet to call even in the off hours as their call center is operating 24/7.

“If you’ve already called us, don’t call us again. We’re getting through as fast as possible. But every operator put on answering calls that’s coming in is an operator that can’t make appointments,” Everhart said.

Frauleine S. Villanueva-Dizon | Reporter
Frauleine Michelle S. Villanueva was a broadcast news producer in the Philippines before moving to the CNMI to pursue becoming a print journalist. She is interested in weather and environmental reporting but is an all-around writer. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Journalism and was a sportswriter in the student publication.

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