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Red Cross disaster workers expected to arrive on island this week

A home on the westside damaged by Tropical Storm Gita. [THA]

More than a dozen American Red Cross disaster workers from the US are expected to arrive on island this week, to assist with the current staff on the ground, as Tutuila is in recovery mode following last Friday’s Tropical Storm Gita.

But ahead of the storm, the American Samoa Red Cross American Samoa distributed more than 2,000 emergency supplies — tarps, flashlights, comfort kits, etc. — “and there are additional supplies on the way,” said Emily Cox, the Regional Communications Director of American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties — including American Samoa.

“We now anticipate having at least 20 Red Cross disaster workers on Friday's flight into the island, including our regional chief executive officer Sean Mahoney,” Cox said yesterday afternoon from San Diego. In addition, seven other volunteers from San Diego and several workers from other parts of the United States are also expected on the flight.

“Once that team is on the ground, they will be able to continue the disaster assessment process and then open cases for families who had their homes majorly damaged or destroyed,” she told Samoa News.

The Red Cross team from the US joins the local Red Cross disaster workers and at least two other Red Cross workers from San Diego, who are already on island.

According to Cox, the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties has eight staff members managing the disaster response from the Disaster Operations Center in San Diego.

She points out that the Red Cross is working very closely with the entire response community — government agencies, other non-profit groups, faith-based organizations, area businesses and others — to coordinate relief and recovery efforts.

To our readers, the Red Cross also has several safety tips available for people on what to do during or after a landslide, flood or power outage — on

For Mahoney, a retired US Coast Guard captain, this will be his first visit to American Samoa since taking over the CEO post last December. (See Samoa News edition Nov. 16, 2017 for details.)