On 5th August 2015, Typhoon Soudelor made landfall on Saipan, CNMI, (Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands), displacing thousands. FEMA and the American Red Cross indicate 1070 homes were completely destroyed and many thousands more were damaged. The electrical grid was destroyed and required a complete rebuild. The fresh water distribution was compromised by inoperable pumps reliant on electricity. The islands are approximately 23 shipping days away from the US mainland. During the emergency response phase, FEMA and the CNMI VOAD anticipated a surge in solicited and unsolicited donated goods. Adventist Community Services (ACS), who have a MoU with FEMA to provide expertise in donations management, were requested to set up and operate a multi-agency warehouse.
Initially ACS was deployed with four main tasks, and during their less than twelve days on Saipan, they were able to establish a multiagency warehouse and facilitate distribution of a wide variety of much-needed goods to the community. Among their achievements during the response were:
- Establishment of a multiagency warehouse and equipped a management team on Saipan to assume the operation.
- Setup of ACS distribution sites at schools, churches, dental clinics and other mobile distribution locations to distribute goods purchased locally that were not available in the shipments, but needed by the community, such as propane.
- Pilot testing of FlowTrac, a new warehouse inventory software.
- Establishment of long-term recovery plans: ACS is partnering with 3 universities and several organizations to create a sustainable solution for rebuilding homes