Red Cross Helping American Samoa Tsunami Victims
WASHINGTON DC, September 30, 2009 — The American Red Cross is on the ground in American Samoa where a tsunami swept across the island after a powerful earthquake hit the South Pacific.
After yesterday’s 8.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami, a significant portion of American Samoa is without power or water. Damage is widespread. Red Cross has dozens of volunteers already providing food and supplies to those on the island. A team of 50 volunteers is being sent in to supplement the efforts of the local Red Cross team. The Red Cross has a warehouse on American Samoa supplied with cots, flashlights, and cooking and clean-up supplies, and will be sending in additional supplies as quickly as possible.
“We will get there as quickly as we can with what we can,” said Joe Becker, senior vice president for Red Cross Disaster Services. “Our first priority is to provide food, water and needed supplies.”
Getting information out of the island is very slow at this time. The Red Cross urges those who have been able to contact loved ones on American Samoa register them with Safe and Well. This is the best way to share information about their status. People can register information about loved ones on the Red Cross Safe and Well Website at http://www.redcross.org. If they do not have internet access, they can call 1-800-REDCROSS to register their loved ones. The information 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.
The Red Cross pre-positions supplies and disaster equipment to be able to rush relief services into affected areas when disaster strikes. Since 1997, members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) have pledged donations in advance of major disasters to ensure the Red Cross has the ability to respond immediately when needed. This year, members have provided more than $20 million in funding for the Disaster Relief Fund.
ADGP members include Altria Group, Inc., American Express, AXA Foundation, ConAgra Foods, FedEx Corporation, GE Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, John Deere Foundation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Merck & Co., Inc., Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Insurance Foundation, Raytheon, Ryder Charitable Foundation, State Farm, State Street Foundation, Target, The TJX Companies, Inc., UnitedHealthcare, and UPS.
“Thanks to the generosity of our Annual Disaster Giving Program members, we are able to mobilize human and material resources at a moments notice to provide lifesaving services,” said Jeffrey Towers, chief development officer at the American Red Cross. “These funds, coupled with the support of the American public, are critical during disasters and enable the Red Cross to rush immediate relief to disaster victims before the first donation has been given.”
American Samoa, a group of seven islands about 2,300 miles southwest of Hawaii, is a United States Territory. American Samoa and the independent country of Samoa make up the Samoan group of islands in the center of Polynesia. According to news reports, four tsunami waves about 15 to 20 feet high came ashore on American Samoa after the earthquake in the South Pacific.
Your financial support will help the Red Cross respond to disasters like this situation in the Samoan islands. You can make a donation by calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or (Spanish 1-800-257-7575), or visiting redcross.org, and choosing whether to donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund or American Red Cross International Response Fund.
Help people affected by disasters like the recent earthquake and floods by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for disasters and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting redcross.org.