Yapese Resident Of Guam Raising Funds For Tornado Damage Back Home

 Falalop Island, Ulithi Atoll was hard hit by freak weather event in December

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 26, 2017) – A weird weather event in December left parts of the island of Falalop, a part of the Ulithi Atoll in Yap, devastated.

John Rulmal Jr., a resident of the island, described it as a water spout turned tornado.

The Dec. 22, 2016 event caused extensive damage to homes, cooking huts, agriculture, boats and power lines along its path, contributing to the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Maysak in March 2015 and Typhoon Haima in October 2016.

An estimated 15 to 20 homes and cooking huts were destroyed along the path of the tornado, he said. Two people were reported to have had minor cuts from flying tin roofs, he added.

Rulmal currently is on Guam to get necessary materials to help rebuild the island.

“The residents are pretty resilient,” he said.

He’s working with the Ayuda Foundation and the Micronesian Conservation Coalition to help with rebuilding efforts. The coalition, along with The John Dank Show, will be hosting a fundraiser for Ulithi from 6 to 10 p.m. Jan. 26 at Kentos.

There’s also an online fundraising effort through Crowdrise called Standing United with Ulithi.

The money will be used to help buy the materials to help rebuild, Rulmal said.

Residents who have extra wood or other building materials are encouraged to donate them to the Ayuda Foundation, which is helping to ship materials to Yap.

Ayuda Foundation Executive Director Carlotta Leon Guerrero said they've already collected five pallets of wood from a contractor and Triple B Forwarders is shipping what’s donated to Yap for free.

Chip Guard, senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said they’re still trying to figure out what exactly happened.

He said it could be a water spout that came ashore and became a tornado. It could also be a tornado, but those are very rare in our region, he said.

Guard said they’re working with tornado specialists to help determine what caused the devastation.

Rulmal said the December incident was something he’s never seen before, because it came out of nowhere.

He was in his home when he saw the tornado touch down and it sounded like a roaring plane. There was no indication from the weather that it would occur, he said.

Rulmal said the incident may be a sign of the ongoing changes happening because of global warming.

“Climate change is happening,” he said.

Rulmal said he’s hoping to get a container shipped out this month so that it can reach Yap to catch another boat to go to Ulitihi in early February.

One of the issues in helping rebuild the island is that boats with supplies don’t come very often, so it’s important to catch them, he said.

He said some of the supplies, like medicine donated from the last typhoons, spoiled because they sat on the dock waiting to be transported.

HOW TO HELP

Residents who have building materials like wood, tin and other supplies can donate it to the Ayuda Foundation. For more information call Ayuda at 473-3003.

Residents can donate online at https://www.crowdrise.com/fundraise-and-volunteer/the-team/standing-united-with-ulithi/johnrulmal-jr
Residents can attend a fundraiser at from 6 to 10 p.m. Jan. 26 at Kentos at Hyatt Regency Guam.

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2017 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

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