Damage Assessment of Homes on Saipan and Tinian

The Seventh-day Adventist churches on the islands of Saipan and Tinian joined us in the Typhoon Yutu Relief Efforts in their respective communities. Church members who participated in the Disaster Assessment class conducted by Derrick Lea, NAD ACS DR director, assessed homes that were severely damaged by the Typhoon. Based on the degree of damage done to homes, families were given vouchers for building materials to help rebuild their homes.

From November 16 – 19, the Tinian SDA Church volunteers assessed homes in their community, and ended up providing vouchers to 61 households. These vouchers were especially beneficial to those families who were still waiting to get assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or other non-profit organizations. Pr. Paulo Restauro, Jr., pastor of the Tinian SDA Church, was extremely grateful to his church members and ACS personnel for their wonderful service to the community.

We had volunteers from the Saipan SDA Church who also lent their assistance in handing out vouchers to their community. They started assessing homes early this month, and concluded its voucher distribution on November 25. The volunteers were led by their director, Dr. Warren Creed, who runs the SDA Dental Clinic on Saipan, and coordinator, Shack Manuel. They visited 219 houses in Koblerville and San Antonio, where each received vouchers ranging from $100 to $500, depending on the extent of the damage. The vouchers can be redeemed at a local hardware store in exchange for building materials, or other household items.

The residents were overwhelmed with joy and truly appreciative of the help they received. One resident who was very thankful for receiving a $500 voucher said, “Our house was totally wrecked and my priority is to buy some building materials". The volunteers were also glad that they could be of service even though they had limited resources to work with. Dr. Creed said, “I wish we could do more. It’s hard to say ‘no’ to people who are in need." In total, ACS provided $100,000 to assist the Typhoon survivors: $20,000 worth of vouchers were distributed on Tinian and $80,000 on Saipan.

Camp Fire Ravages California

California Fires Update - November 27

The California fires this year have been declared as the deadliest fires in the history of the State. Even though the Southern California Woolsey fire and the Paradise Camp Fire in Northern California have been completely contained, they have left several individuals, families, and communities in crisis.

Charlene Sargent, Pacific Union Conference ACS Director, and her Team have been leading out in the Recovery Efforts in both Northern and Southern California. They are currently positioned at the Operations Center, where they are meeting the needs of those affected by providing shelter and other necessities. All of the counties affected by the fires are utilizing only local assistance. Volunteers from outside the affected counties are asked not to deploy at this time. The North American Division ACS is working with ACS personnel in the California conferences on providing financial support for the purchase of kitchen kits.

If you wish to donate to the Recovery Efforts in Northern or Southern California, please click here: NCC Paradise Camp Fire, SCC Disaster Relief Fund Woolsey Fire.

Please continue to pray for the survivors and responders of these devastating fires.

The camp fire that started in Butte County, Northern California, last Thursday (November 8) spread rapidly moving into the town of Paradise and surrounding areas. The Fire which has destroyed 125,000 acres of land and taken the lives of over 40 people still continue to rage. Several homes, schools, churches, and hospitals have been decimated. The Feather River Adventist Hospital was able to safely evacuate patients and transfer them to other facilities before being damaged. Two Adventist churches and a section of the Paradise Academy campus were burned down. The Paradise SDA Church has a membership of 1500 with a high school adjacent to the church. The Magalia Upper Ridge SDA Church has 150 members. The Fire which has pretty much devastated the towns of Paradise and Magalia in Northern California is considered to be the deadliest in the history of California.

The Northern California ACS Disaster Response Team, led by Jim Oliver, has been working diligently to help those in crisis in response to the recent Camp fire. Texas ACS Directors, Marshall and Julie Gonzales, are also lending their support to the Relief Efforts. Our churches in Oroville and Chico have opened their doors to evacuees. The Chico SDA Church has been approved by American Red Cross (ARC) as a shelter, but right now is assisting the victims with blankets, towels, toiletries, clothes, and etc. Residents are able to stay at other Sunday churches in Chico that are set up as shelters with the ARC. Southern California is also experiencing fires, as well. The Woolsey Fire has affected Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Our Pacific Union DR Coordinator Charlene Sargent and her Team are on the ground managing the situation there.

Please pray for the families who have lost loved ones, and for the safety of the survivors and responders.

Click here to help with the Northern California Paradise Fire relief.

Click here to help with the Southern California Woolsey Fire relief.

Special Acknowledgment - Terry Haight

We regret to announce the passing of Terry Haight, our Georgia-Cumberland Conference ACS DR Director. Terry has worked with us for several years and was one of the best representatives of our Mission of serving in Christ’s name. Terry and his Team was recently involved in the Hurricane Michael Recovery Efforts over the last month in the State of Georgia. The two most-affected counties, Seminole and Daugherty, had reached out to us to set up Warehouses. Terri worked with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) to identify facilities in both counties that could house these operations.

GEMA wanted Terry and his Team in the Warehouse in Donalsonvile (Seminole county) right away, but there was nowhere within a 100-mile radius to house them. Moreover, there was no electricity in the county, either. So, they waited, awaiting developments until it was difficult to hold off any longer. Finally, they decided to leave and trust in the Lord for the housing. The day they were supposed to load the truck, they received a call from GEMA notifying them that they had located motel rooms in Dothan, AL which was 31 miles away from the Warehouse, for two weeks.

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In addition to the Warehouses, Terry efficiently led his Team in serving six Distribution Sites in various areas in Georgia. Since many rural areas didn’t have electricity for a long time, they were desperate for food and other necessities. Terry took the initiative on operating a mobile distribution which helped deliver supplies to some of the more remote areas. He also served the hurricane survivors who were sheltered at the Operations Center by providing them shower trailers. We are truly grateful for Terry’s dedication and remarkable service to ACS, and are appreciative of all he has done to serve in his community.

Please keep Rhonda Haight, wife of Terry, and the family in your continued prayers for strength as they endure this difficult tragedy.

Typhoon Yutu Update

The Islands of Saipan and Tinian are struggling to recover from the effects of Typhoon Yutu, one of the most powerful weather events recorded in history. Since the storm touched down in late October, we have been in daily contact with our ACS DR Director Max Mays and FEMA lead Michael Kern about the needs on both of these islands. Our discussions have expanded to include the leadership of the Guam Micronesia Mission President Ken Norton.

Deliveries of supplies were sent early in the Recovery efforts to those on the ground. Most of the efforts of FEMA and other governmental entities have been put into providing shelter to the survivors. A limited number of buildings that had not been damaged by the storm were utilized for housing the residents. Tents are also being used on the land of those whose homes have been destroyed. With this primary need taking precedence, ACS is crafting a list of unmet needs we might be able to meet.

One of the areas being considered is setting up some Distribution Sites that would give out items the community is needing such as solar-powered lighting, tarps, and mosquito netting on both Islands. These Efforts will begin in Guam where items will be purchased from Home Depot and other stores, and delivered to the communities. We are also looking to set up a Warehouse in Saipan. Though the conditions on the affected Islands will create some challenges, our ACS DR team is prepared to help and currently sits on Standby awaiting a request of assistance. Since we work in coordination with the local community, our efforts will incorporate appropriate trained teams for the task that lies ahead. We will also be partnering with other NGOs, FEMA, and Military personnel to help in these areas.

Hurricane and Typhoon Relief Update

A team of 21 individuals from the Northeastern Conference joined our ACS Disaster Response forces on the ground in Florida to support the Southeastern, Florida, South Central, Gulf States, and Georgia-Cumberland Conferences responding to Hurricane Michael, presently. The State Warehouse in Tallahassee has now been operational for almost two weeks. Pastor Daniel Hoover (Arkansas-Louisiana Conference) and Charlene Sargent (Pacific Union Conference) are lending their support to the operations at the Warehouse. A County Warehouse in the State of Georgia, and Distribution Sites in Panama City and in the surrounding communities are also functioning. We are also meeting the needs of the affected residents by cleaning debris from homes and properties.

While this work continues, we are still occupied with our Guam-Micronesia Mission in support of those affected on the Islands of Saipan and Tinian by Typhoon Yutu. Several areas on both the Islands are still suffering from power outage. We have been working with our local ACS Director Max Mays and his Team to find ways on how we can best serve the affected communities. Supplies have been bought and sent to our volunteers on the ground to be distributed to the survivors. Currently, we are in discussions with FEMA and the local VOAD about the developing needs and while help is being finalized, we are working amongst ourselves and partnering with others that are able to bring resources to bear on this crisis event.