By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Disaster relief aid flowed into Guam to assist residents affected by typhoon Mawar -- many of whom have lost their homes-- as the island continues to struggle with power outages and water shortages.
The Salvation Army Guam Corps is providing three meals a day for incarcerated youth and staff at the Department of Youth Affairs [DYA] youth correctional facility in Mangilao.
The DYA’s food supplies were compromised by an extended power outage due to Typhoon Mawar and the facility is without running water. In addition, The Salvation Army is conducting outreach of food, thrift store vouchers and financial assistance to those in Guam’s villages.
“As of today, we are providing approximately 300 hot meals and 100 food bags per day via outreach to Guam’s villages and expect our daily outreach to increase 500 hot meals on the weekend,” said Victor Leonardi, divisional director of Emergency Services & Safety for The Salvation Army Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division.
“We are providing vouchers for The Salvation Army Guam Corps Thrift store for clothing and household items. Part of our outreach plan includes purchasing meals to support local restaurants and businesses that also have been affected by the typhoon. We also are blessed that many of the businesses are either donating or providing some items at reduced costs," Leonardi said.
The Taiwanese government donated $200,000 to the American Red Cross to assist Guam in the post-disaster reconstruction efforts.
Paul Chen, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office on Guam, presented a check to Chita Blaise, executive director of the American Red Cross Guam Chapter.
"As Guam experienced its largest wind disaster in 20 years, the 23 million people of Taiwan, who have long suffered from typhoon damage, empathize with Guam," Chen said.
Blaise said the American Red Cross Guam will collaborate with the local government in utilizing the donations to jointly provide assistance and relief to the affected victims.
About 180 Red Cross volunteers have arrived on Guam and the Northern Marianas to provide meals, water and other forms of assistance to the typhoon- affected families. According to its website, the Red Cross teams are working with local partners to assess community needs and overall residential damage across Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Red Cross responders are traveling by foot through villages, conducting detailed damage assessments and meeting with households to discuss other critical needs.
Red Cross has set up shelters with caseworkers meeting with families and individuals to discuss unique recovery needs, including housing, medical needs, and mental health support.
"Relief and recovery efforts will continue for several weeks. In some situations, the Red Cross may provide financial support directly to people who need extra help. Financial assistance from the Red Cross can help pay for a deposit on new housing, replace lost clothing or other belongings, cover transportation expenses or address any other urgent need," the charity group said.
The Red Cross said it also provides financial assistance for verified, disaster-caused health and mental health needs.
The University of Guam Sea Grant’s aquaculture program donated fresh tilapia harvest from its recirculating aquaculture system to island residents.
The distribution was held at the Mangilao Mayor's Office on Friday, May 26.
The aquaculture system serves as a model for non-profit and community-based organizations that are interested in starting their own backyard aquaculture systems.
Director Austin Shelton UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant said while the aquaculture program was launched to increase food security on the island, program efforts are also focused on providing urgent relief for communities affected by any disaster.
"After a typhoon, this is the time that the island needs food security the most. We are happy to get our tilapia fish out into the community to those who need it most, in this time of need,” he said.
UOG Sea Grant aquaculture specialist Dave Crisostomo said, "Food security and resiliency have come out to be the top priorities now. So, all these projects that we are doing for aquaculture and aquaponics are geared toward this goal.”