Guam rallies to speed aide to Chuuk & Yap - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam rallies to speed aide to Chuuk & Yap

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Following Supertyphoon Maysak, several organizations have been working together to provide much needed aid to both Chuuk and Yap. However, is it enough?

Two weeks after Supertyphoon Maysak hit both Chuuk and Yap, aid is just beginning to trickle in to the islands. Volunteer John Pattis is from the northwest region of Chuuk, and said, "My island, which is Onoun, got hit pretty bad by the typhoon, they have a junior high school on the island that there's a lot of students that they come from a lot of different islands in Chuuk - that they're over there and their school was damaged, and they need a lot of help with water and food."

In fact, KUAM News spoke with Northwest High School principal Mannix Episom via radio last week. According to him, Onoun had no source of clean water, forcing people to drink contaminated salt water, and the island only had enough food to last until the end of April. Despite the outflow of support from the community, which has filled four 40 foot containers of aid, volunteers at the site and members of the Chuuk student organization are concerned at the length of time it's taking aid to reach the island.

According to Pattis, it takes at least one week to reach the outer islands from Chuuk's center, and that is only if a ship is in dock, and only after the additional three days it takes the aid to arrive from Guam. "Last I heard, they're still waiting for the boat to get down there with I don't know what kind of supplies they're bringing down. It's very slow, getting to them is very slow," he explained.

With an estimated 90% of crops destroyed in Chuuk, and 100% destroyed in yap, the need is evident. Kimberly Graham, a University of Guam student who was in Chuuk during the supertyphoon, shares these concerns, saying, "The first container was shipped last week so it should be there in Chuuk by now, but as for other aid, I know USAID is there and FEMA, but they still haven't offered any aid and we're still waiting for them to declare Chuuk a disaster area." 

She said USAID's declaration is needed to help expedite disaster relief efforts, noting, "Because right now we're at a standstill - like there's a 40-foot container that's been there since last week and there's nothing we can really do about it unless we're declared a state of disaster."

Both hope that the US Government will look into offering air drops as that is the quickest way to get food to disaster areas.

Meanwhile, both continue volunteering and putting together as much as they can to help their friends and family that are struggling in Chuuk.

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