Community News Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff

COMMUNITY MEMBERS URGED TO HELP WITH DISASTER RELIEF EFFORTS 

A Disaster Relief fundraiser, aimed at raising money for the victims of states and territories recently affected by natural disasters - as well as local residents - is being publicized and help is being sought via solicitations letters to various government departments and agencies, the private sector, and community faith-based organizations.

Some of the events being planned include a radiothon and telethon on Saturday, Oct. 28th. The radiothon will be held from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. with collection points set up around the territory where donations can be made.

The telethon picks up after 4 p.m. and will run until 10 p.m. at the Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium, where there will be entertainment while pledges are announced on KVZK-TV.

Those who want to entertain during the event can contact Disaster Relief Committee member Samana Semo Ve'ave'a at the Dept. of Homeland Security for more information.

The relief drive was originally set up to raise money for states affected by hurricanes but now the efforts will also include contributions for locals affected by disasters in the territory, as the relief efforts are under the American Samoa chapter of the Red Cross, the agency that generally responds with emergency relief when locals fall victim to natural disasters like hurricanes, mudslides, landslides, and flooding.

Local Red Cross chairman Vaito'a Hans Langkilde told Samoa News yesterday that the Disaster Relief efforts are fully backed by Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga, and the money raised will be sent to the National Red Cross, who will determine where and how the funds will be disbursed.

In addition to money that will be raised, both Bluesky and ASTCA have agreed to donate to relief efforts a portion of the cost of cell phone texts to a Disaster Relief number between Oct. 18th and Oct. 28th

CDC TEAM HERE TO STUDY DENGUE OUTBREAK

A team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) arrived in the territory last week, and they are here to carry out studies on mosquito-borne diseases, specifically Zika and dengue fever.

As of November 2016, over 200 confirmed cases of dengue fever have been reported in the territory, and in less than a year, the number of confirmed Zika cases has reached 93.

CDC representatives, as part of their outreach efforts, will be visiting different villages in the territory — especially those in districts where most of the confirmed cases have been reported from — to look at ways to prevent the disease from spreading, and talking to community members.

The team will also be collecting mosquito samples for testing purposes. They encourage the public not to be alarmed when they see them around the villages but instead, come over and start a dialogue on how they can work together to combat diseases like dengue and Zika.

Currently, the Department of Health (DOH) is going full throttle with outreach efforts, paying for advertisements and sending workers out in the field to preach the 4Ds of prevention: Drain, DEET, Dress, and Discussion.

Dengue fever is a disease caused by a family of viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. Symptoms include severe joint and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fever, exhaustion, and rash.

There is no specific medicine or antibiotic to treat dengue so treatment is directed towards relief of the symptoms. A vaccine for dengue fever was approved in April 2016 for use in dengue-endemic areas.

Zika is also carried by infected mosquitoes and can cause birth defects when it is passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Microcephaly is a birth defect that causes babies to be born with small heads. It is a sign of incomplete brain development. Zika can be transmitted through sex, so the use of condoms is encouraged.

DOH encourages everyone to clean up around their homes and surrounding areas, drain containers that hold water which can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and protect yourself with mosquito repellant containing DEET.

Most importantly, 'discuss' with others the importance of maintaining a clean environment.

Those who want to get rid of big items, such as scrap metal, are advised to call ASPA at 699-1234 and ask where the designated 'drop off area' for your scrap metal and solid waste is located. Using this service waives all associated fees.

More information can be obtained by calling the DOH emergency preparedness hotline at 699-8690.

BLUESKY DONATES $2,000 TO HOPE HOUSE

Last week, the Bluesky management team visited Hope House to present the company's $2,000 donation in celebration of Hope House's 30th anniversary.

Interim Country Manager, Raj Deo was accompanied by Bluesky's controller, Joseph Tuiteleleapaga; human resources director, Lisa Gebauer; sales manager, Josephine Ieremia; marketing manager, Marilyn Gabriel; customer service manager, Sherry Sele; and other managers of Bluesky's technical engineering team who were also able to be part of the visit. 

According to a news release from the company, Bluesky is the preferred telecommunications provider for Hope House  and the company "has always been very supportive of the work and service the special facility provides for the elderly and children with special needs of American Samoa."

Bluesky participates in the annual Hope House Golf Tournament fundraisers — either by sponsoring a team or two — providing prizes for the raffle, and/ or donates in-kind services.

"In addition, Bluesky has initiated text promotions during sports foundation past visits by Jim Jones and Troy Polamalu whereby the telecommunication company matches total funds raised and donates it to Hope House."

During their presentation, the Bluesky American Samoa management team were greeted by the residents of Hope House, Bishop Peter Brown, and Hope House board members.

The same day of the presentation marked a very special day for one of the long-time elderly residents of Hope House, Mrs. Faia'ai Mata'u who celebrated her 92nd birthday that day.

The Bluesky team, following their presentation last Monday Sept. 25th, was able to tour the facilities with Hope House manager, Mrs. Beatrice Mageo.

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