A Friendly Wind Blows In
DESTROYED–The Tenario family lost the roof from their wood and tin home. The older children are junior soldiers of the Guam Corps, and all the children (except the youngest) attend Sunday school.
Typhoon “Paka” slammed into Guam in mid-December with torrential rains and wind gusts of up to 236 miles an hour–the highest velocity winds ever recorded–leaving in its wake massive destruction. At least 3,000 homes were destroyed and up to half of the island’s 31,000 homes sustained damage. Miraculously, no lives were lost in the disaster.
The Salvation Army immediately began relief assistance under the direction of Western officers Captains David and Linda Harmon, who serve as Guam corps officers. Teams of volunteers dispatched from Los Angeles joined with local Salvationists in providing food services, shelter, and spiritual counseling to victims.
While relief efforts continue, they are now in a transitional mode. “The Army is now shifting from survival response to short and long-term recovery,” states Territorial Emergency and Disaster Coordinator Captain Art Storey “and is analyzing long term relief needs.” Storey notes, for example, that there is now one shelter housing around 400 victims, down from four shelters housing thousands, and instead of providing meals, there is a need for supplying groceries.
The Salvation Army has taken an active leadership role in relief services. “Linda and David are doing a fantastic job.” he says. “He has a wonderful rapport with the military and with the local government.”
Hormel Foods has donated 20 tons of meat for distributions to victims, which is being processed through the Army’s recently-acquired warehouse in Guam. The Guam Corps building sustained damage, including the loss of the roof over the chapel and the destruction of the front entry. Corps work and worship are being conducted out of a local school.