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American Red Cross Guam: $13.1M spent; 27.7K people reached in Mawar relief efforts

Updated: Jun 24


Photo courtesy of ARC

 By Jayvee Vallejera

 

The Guam Chapter of the American Red Cross has spent $13.1 million on Guam's recovery, deployed over 380 disaster workers and reached 27,700 individuals with recovery support, including financial assistance, soon after Typhoon Mawar hit the territory in 2023, according to a report from the National Headquarters of the American Red Cross.


The June 17 report, which details the organization’s relief efforts after Typhoon Mawar, said the Red Cross also partnered with local restaurants to serve more than 342,000 meals and snacks and provided over 30,400 overnight stays.


Typhoon Mawar passed by Guam and Rota on May 24, 2023, as a Category 4 typhoon with hurricane-force winds of up to 140 mph and gusts of up to 165 mph.


A little over a year later, American Red Cross Guam Chapter Board Chairman Marcos Fong and CEO Chita Blaise presented a comprehensive report compiled by the National Headquarters on its relief efforts in Guam. The June gathering was attended by members of the Board of Directors, Red Cross volunteers, Guam mayors, and other government and community partners.


The American Red Cross Guam Chapter led by Marcos Fong, board chairman, and Chita Blaise, CEO, presented a comprehensive report from the national headquarters detailing the assistance provided to Guam in the aftermath of Typhoon Mawar. Photo courtesy of Glimpses

A Red Cross Guam Chapter statement quotes Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, who received the report, expressing gratitude to the organization for its role during the recovery process. “She emphasized the importance of community collaboration with organizations like the Red Cross and the government to ensure a swift and effective recovery,” the statement adds.


Typhoon Mawar is known as the strongest storm to hit Guam since Typhoon Pongsona in 2002. The storm flooded buildings, tore roofs off homes, downed power lines and affected water wells. Several areas were without power and water for long periods of time, with many people unable to return home due to safety concerns caused by the damage.


“The response to this disaster required a unified effort, and we are immensely proud of the resilience and dedication shown by our volunteers and the community," Fong said.


While every disaster response is unique and comes with its own challenges, the American Red Cross concedes that disaster responses in island communities like Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are some of the most complex and costly.


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“Connectivity for communications, lodging for the disaster workforce and major time differences between National Headquarters and the operation on the ground are just some of the complexities that the response team must overcome,” states the report.


Even before Mawar struck, the Red Cross was already busy getting ready to support relief operations. That included moving over 380 volunteers to Guam and getting the supplies and personnel in the U.S. mainland ready to deploy once travel was possible.


The Red Cross report recognizes that Guam’s tight-knit and resilient communities are the real strength of the islands, with the people of Guam themselves raising a total of $540,078 to support relief efforts. On top of that, $1.046 million was raised throughout the Pacific Islands region, while the Red Cross itself spent $13.1 million on behalf of Guam's recovery.


“The assistance has included the distribution of clean-up kits, tarps, coolers, flashlights and personal hygiene items. Additionally, physical and mental health services were made available, along with providing a safe place to stay in Red Cross shelters,” it added.




 

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