Chuuk seeks aid in storm's wake: The Micronesian island needs the help of Hawaii's Chuukese

by Mary Vorsino

HONOLULU, Hawai'i (Honolulu Star-Bulletin): July 10, 2002 - Local community leaders have already prayed for Chuuk; now, they need to do something to help after destruction by typhoon Chata'an, said Danny Rescue, senior consul at the Consulate of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Rescue made the comments to eight local religious leaders yesterday at a meeting. They are banding together to offer aid to the Micronesian island chain decimated after the typhoon passed over it July 1.

The typhoon killed 40 people, caused an estimated 30 landslides and left more than 1,500 homeless on Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia, according to the government there.

Lt. Gov. Manuel Sound of Chuuk also attended the meeting and discussed relief efforts. He will help coordinate donations for Chuukese affected by the typhoon.

Meeting participants agreed to ask for a $5 donation from every Chuukese in Hawaii, which amounts to about $10,000, Rescue said.

The leaders are hoping to send the money to Chuuk by Monday. They will hold another meeting on July 19 to discuss material donations.

"If you could help, you should help," said Rescue, who is hoping that local Chuukese will donate more than $5 each.

Willie Williander, director of the Chuuk Transportation Department, is in Honolulu for medical reasons and sat in on the meeting with his father, the former lieutenant governor of Chuuk.

Williander said many islands in the Chuuk chain are inaccessible except by small boat, and delivering aid to residents will be difficult.

All of the roads are washed out. All of the crops are affected. Stores are closed. We are very hungry at this time."

Some congregations have already begun collecting donations for Chuuk.

But the Hawaii Salvation Army, which issued a call for donations Friday, received only $20 as of yesterday.

"It's not a very good start to helping them," said Preston Rider, a divisional financial secretary with the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army began distributing food and clothing earlier this week to Chuukese families affected by the typhoon. The Red Cross has also been distributing aid.

Donations to the Salvation Army may be sent to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 620, Honolulu, HI 96809.

To give to the Chuuk Hawaii Relief Committee, headed by Rescue, send donations to Consulate General of the Federated States of Micronesia, 3049 Ualena St., Suite 408, Honolulu, HI 96819.