Guamanians rush to help with Yap & Chuuk storm relief
It's now been exactly a week after Supertyphoon Maysak hit Yap. Kimberly Graham is a student on Guam who flew home to Chuuk two weeks ago for Spring Break. Little did she know, she would be there during one of the most devastating storms to hit the island. "I was fortunate that I was in a concrete house so I could only see what was going on outside, but the people, our neighbors, their houses were completely destroyed, because they lived in tin housing, and it was pretty scary," she explained.
She was trapped in her home for roughly two days, not just during the typhoon, but also during the tsunami warning that followed. "I heard that 80% of the island was destroyed, a lot of our trees fell and that's how we get our food, from the breadfruit trees," she explained. "So we're just trying to rebuild."
While she was fortunate to have fared so well during the storm, many others weren't so lucky. Graham has been working diligently to help to fill containers of aide. Senator Frank Blas, Jr. has been leading relief efforts at the Ayuda Foundation site in Mangilao. He said the greatest need right now is water, adding, "They're drinking brackish water, some of them are drinking, they're running out of the coconuts that they're able to drink as well, some of them are getting sick because of the kind of water they need to drink."
The next most pressing need is food, followed by building materials. "We've already filled one container for Chuuk, we're waiting for it to get picked up today, our priority is to fill the next 40-foot container for Yap," the senator stated. They've also added another 40-foot container that was placed at the University of Guam on Tuesday.
Meanwhile Pacific Missionary Aviation has spearheaded the effort in Yap, sending out thousands of pounds of goods. Chief financial officer Melinda Espinosa told KUAM News, "As of yesterday we have already flown 338 pounds of food and supplies, that's in Ulithi, which will also help the communities of Asor, Fodrai, and Mogmog."
They also flew over 2,000 pounds to Feis. Senator Blas said, "The aide effort is going really well, I want thank the many people that have come out in support of the donations and not with their donations but having a couple hours to help us with our packing the containers."
And Graham gratefully added, "Thank you very much to everyone that's been helping out, I feel for the people because I'm from Chuuk, and I'm just very grateful that everyone's coming together to help."