Photo credit: Nicole Cabrera
On Thursday, October 25, Super Typhoon Yutu slammed into my home islands of Saipan and Tinian packing sustained winds of 178 miles per hour. The storm resulted in one fatality and widespread destruction. Friends and family have lost everything.
Andrew Thaler and I would like to reach out to the Southern Fried Science community of readers to ask your support in helping our friends and family in the the islands with relief efforts (Andrew has conducted OpenROV workshops in the region and has helped with efforts to confer UNESCO World Heritage and National Marine Sanctuary status on the Mariana Trench).
You can help by:
SPREADING THE WORD
The easiest way for you to help, and it doesn’t cost anything, is to share this blog on social media so that more eyes are reading this call for help. Please use the hashtags #SuperTyphoonYutu and #YutuRelief. Also, please share other people’s photos and stories on social media (you can find them using the hashtags). Finally, you can help spread the word by sharing news stories. Here are some from CNN, NPR, USA Today, Washington Post. Civil Beat also has a post with lots of photos of the destruction. Again, please use the hashtags.
The Pacific Daily News, the newspaper of record on Guam, has a list of ways readers can help the victims. There is also a website yuturelief.com, that looks like it is run by various members of our diaspora. I encourage you to read both websites and see what method of donating works best for you. Here are a few others:
I will make a donation to the Ayuda Foundation. They are a Guam based organization, run by Carlotta Leon Guerrero, a trusted former elected official who I work with on conservation issues across the Pacific. They have experience moving cargo and relief supplies across the Micronesia region. I consider them the local experts at helping people in my neck of the woods.
I had a good chat with Carlotta about how they are going to help. She told me that they will likely engage for over two months, and she suggested I have a think about how I wanted to help. Right now, in the immediate aftermath people need shelter, water, medical supplies, generators, and food. In a few weeks, as the cleanup begins in earnest, people will need tarps, machetes, chainsaws, new candles, and batteries. And a few weeks after that the rebuilding will begin, and people will need cinder blocks, plywood, etc.
Ayuda Foundation is collaborating with BankPacific on Guam to collect monetary and physical donations to provide basic necessities to residents in Saipan. Unfortunately, they do not yet accept online donations, so you have to mail them a physical check. Here is the address.
181 East Marine Corp Dr.
Carl Rose Building #207
Hagåtña, 96910 GU
I am going to send them a check in the coming days. If you would like me to send money on your behalf, you can give me cash or send it to me via Paypal.
UPDATE: Ayuda Foundation now accepts donations via Paypal on their Facebook page.
American Red Cross
If you are not familiar with Ayuda, you may feel more comfortable giving to a national organization. The Red Cross has been active on Saipan for decades. The national office will send disaster assistance — has already sent it, in fact. But if I’m not mistaken, the Red Cross won’t accept donations specifically for this disaster, but they will provide the “right” amount of resources. If you would like to donate to them, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Help on the Ground
As of this writing, 186 groups or individuals have set up GoFundMe campaigns for Typhoon Yutu relief. I took a cursory glance at some of them and it looks like some people are raising money for themselves or loved ones, while others plan on donating to relief organizations. I don’t pretend to know all of the people setting them up, but I do know some of them.
Here are some of the folks I know and trust, and I believe a donation to them would be meaningful:
The Marianas Young Professionals are kind of like a local young chamber of commerce club. They are a relatively new organization, but are very active in the community and do lots of good work.
The Saipan Community School is a small, private baptist school that looks like it got pretty beat up in the storm. I’ve worked with some of their former teachers and administrations, and they are an important part of our community and could use your help.
My friend Anna Rose is raising money for her mom, Jane, who lost nearly everything. Jane has dedicated her life to helping the less fortunate, and I’m sure she’d appreciated a hand up in her time of need.
Oh, and by the way: Now is the time to talk about climate change. This is the second hundred year storm to strike the Marianas in the last three years. Climate change is real and climate change is here.