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Micronesia: Salvation Army sending donations to devastated FSM Chuuk State

Date de publication

From Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai'i

by Mark-Alexander Pieper

HAG=C5TÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News): August 29, 2002 - Clothes, diapers, food, utensils and toys are among the many items collected by the Salvation Army that are scheduled to leave for Chuuk State today. Many of the items were donated by families from Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo, said Donna Kloppenburg, public relations and development director for the Salvation Army.

Torrential rain from then-Tropical Storm Chata'an pounded Chuuk state July 2 and triggered more than 30 massive landslides throughout the state. The death toll remains at 47. The disaster injured hundreds of people and destroyed hundreds of homes. About 1,000 people have been displaced by the deadliest disaster in the state's history.

"This is very, very devastating and many people lost their homes as well as the loss of life, which they are still trying to deal with. So definitely we will be helping Chuuk out," Kloppenburg said.

Lt. Jess Harvey of the Andersen Public Affairs Office said the collection drive has been ongoing at the base since July.

"These are all donated items that have filled a full, 20-foot container and we will continue to send more to help," Kloppenburg said.

Chuuk, one of four states in the Federated States of Micronesia, has a population of about 47,000 people and is located about 620 miles southeast of Guam.

FSM President Leo Falcam has said it will take at least six more months before Chuuk state can recover from structural and agricultural devastation from the landslides.

Guam sent the first response team to Chuuk via Ayuda Foundation's volunteer team of doctors and other medical professionals, who helped treat those most critically injured, according to Pacific Daily News files.

Ayuda, a local nonprofit group, also has sent critically needed medicine and other relief supplies, including IV fluids, antibiotics and painkillers, to Chuuk through free cargo services provided by Continental Micronesia.

"It's still pretty bad out there," said Ayuda Co-Executive Director Carlotta Leon Guerrero.

"The first phase for us was getting help out there, the second phase was getting people [...] out of there, and now the third phase, which we're on, is getting supplies for the outer islands. And one of the biggest needs now is for food."

Leon Guerrero said much of the outer islands' food crops was destroyed by the storm, so the Salvation Army's help is important because Ayuda typically focuses on providing medical supplies and not food.

"We're hoping the Salvation Army will be able to use their food collection system, not only on Guam but throughout the country to help out the people of Chuuk," she said.