“It’s a mess over there.” That is how American Red Cross staffer Tuuga Tinoisamoa describes the eastern side of American Samoa after this week’s devastating tsunami swept over the island.
Water service has been restored to most of the area, but there is still no power. The American Red Cross is providing food, shelter, water and other needed supplies, and helping with debris removal. Additional supplies and help in the form of staff and volunteers from the United States are on their way to supplement the efforts of the local Red Cross workforce.
“The needs are so great,” said Joe Becker, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “Our team in American Samoa needs to be a lot larger and we need a lot more supplies on the ground. We are working feverishly to bring in the first wave of people, and the first wave of supplies.”
American Samoa is a United States territory. The independent country of Samoa is located about 120 miles to the northwest and was also hit by the huge waves. The Samoa Red Cross Society is responding there by distributing relief supplies, water, tarps and first aid supplies, and managing camps for those who are displaced.
The global Red Cross network is providing assistance for about 15,000 people in Samoa in the form of kitchen sets, mosquito nets, blankets and sheltering materials. Help is on the way from Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada, and Tuvalu.
The Red Cross urges those who have been able to contact loved ones on American Samoa to register them with Safe and Well, the best way to share information about their status. You can register on the Red Cross Safe and Well Website at www.redcross.org. If you do not have internet access, call 1-800-REDCROSS to register your loved ones. The information you post will let other loved ones know about the well-being of those on the island. Please note - Safe and Well works only on American Samoa. The service will not work on Samoa.
If you would like to help, you can make a financial donation to help the Red Cross respond to disasters like the Pacific Islands tsunami in American Samoa and Samoa. You can donate by calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) (1-800-257-7575 Spanish) or by visiting redcross.org and choosing whether to give to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund or International Response Fund.