Am. Red Cross disaster assistance, Includes supplies to TAOA

Pago Pago, American Samoa —  American Red Cross San Diego/Imperial counties disaster workers along with volunteers from across the US including two from Hawai’i, deployed to American Samoa to provide assistance following the Feb. 9 devastation left behind by Tropical Storm Gita.

Among the deployed volunteers is Barbara Riester (second from left - first row standing), who was on assignment in Washington State, when the call went out for volunteers for American Samoa. Riester, who has been a Red Cross volunteer for 50 years, applied and deployed as logistic personnel. She was part of another Red Cross team deployed to the territory following the 2009 earthquake and tsunami. [photo: Leua Aiono Frost]

Also on island is the Red Cross San Diego chief executive officer, Sean Mahoney and a public information officer who were yesterday attending a briefing with local officials.

Over the weekend an American Red Cross chartered Boeing 747 landed at Pago Pago International Airport with more emergency supplies, such as cleanup kits; comfort kits; tarps; walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, mini first aid kits; mosquito netting and insect repellent.

Ahead of the storm, the local Red Cross had already distributed more than 2,000 emergency supplies to local residents.

Based on information from the local Red Cross Disaster Team, the distribution of the newly arrived supplies is not yet underway; and “our teams are in the process of finalizing distribution plans now,” Red Cross spokesperson Briana Kelly told Samoa News yesterday morning from San Diego, responding to inquiries. 

Additionally the Service Center will open once damage assessment is completed.

Yesterday morning, a Samoa News reporter, who visited the local Red Cross office in Tafuna was informed that Red Cross delivered — also yesterday morning — 28 walkers, 18 wheelchairs, 10 crutches and 14 canes to the Territorial Administration on Aging for use by senior citizens.

The ASG Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in its 6p.m. Feb. 20, post-storm special bulletin notes that the Red Cross is supporting feeding those who are in shelters; And they are working closely with ASG to develop a distribution plan for disaster supplies.

Supplies include Welcome Home kits for families with “confirmed destroyed homes” — which include a cooler, cleanup kit, personal items, tarp, flashlights, and a small stove with propane.

Families with “confirmed major damage” — but not assessed by ASG as destroyed — will be able to get other support items as needed, according to EOC, which calls on the public to be patient as plans for disaster assistance are being finalized.

Additionally, ASG officials, according to the EOC bulletin, will contact families with homes that were destroyed by Gita.

•     Department of Human and Social Services (DHSS) advises the public to contact 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 633-9017 if any assistance is needed.

•     Department of Health (DOH) reminds the public all health clinics in Tafuna, Leone and Amouli and two in Manu’a remain open. Tafuna remains open on a 24-hour basis, while all clinics are open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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