Gunnery Sgt. Lance Burkley and Col. Jim Harbison demonstrated a water purification system yesterday at Bellows.

$4 million in aid
heads to Guam

Hawaii military forces assume an
active role in the disaster response

To donate

By Gregg K. Kakesako

The U.S. Pacific Fleet is coordinating the flow of more than $4 million worth of relief supplies and services from around the world to storm-ravaged Guam, according to a spokesman.

And specialized military units here have been put on alert in case they are called to help.

Super Typhoon Pongsona battered Guam on Sunday with winds of up to 184 mph. It left the Pacific island 3,700 miles southwest of Hawaii without water and power. Pongsona's winds destroyed an estimated 2,000 homes and left about that many more severely damaged.

President Bush has declared the island a disaster area.

Today an Air Force C-17 transport jet was scheduled to haul a 2,000-gallon water tanker and 15,000 gallons of bottled water. Navy Ensign Mike Morley, Pacific Fleet spokesman, said 10 large electric generators will be flown from Hickam Air Force Base tomorrow.

Lt. Cmdr. Jensin Sommer, a Pacific Command spokeswoman, said that as yet the Federal Emergency Management Agency has not asked the military for any specific equipment, but it stands ready to respond.

The Air Force also is sending a 25-bed emergency field hospital to Guam, Sommer said.

Ten additional large electrical generators will be flown from Port Hueneme, Calif. Eleven electrical line repair trucks are being contracted from Australia.

"These supplies are earmarked for the Navy on Guam, but the effects of this relief will be felt beyond the Navy community," said Rear Adm. Donna Crisp, head of the Pacific Fleet's Guam typhoon recovery task force.

She noted that half of the intensive-care unit beds at the Guam Naval Hospital were filled by civilian patients from Guam Memorial Hospital, which was heavily damaged.

Navy facilities and housing units have little to no water pressure. Heavy rains and erosion have turned the water in Fena Reservoir, a large watershed that feeds the Navy's water supply, a dull brown. The Navy's Fena Water Treatment Facility is not producing water due to the lack of electricity.

The Air Force has evacuated at least 51 family members from Guam whose homes were damaged by the typhoon.

Marine Col. Jim Harbison's Combat Service Support Group 3 was midway through a three-week field training exercise at Bellows Air Force Station in Waimanalo when the unit was placed on alert for a possible flight to Guam to provide humanitarian relief.

"One of the services we provide," Harbison told reporters yesterday, "is our ability to convert water using a reverse osmosis filtration system. The water is 99.9 percent pure."

Sgt. Michael Housch, hygiene equipment operator, explained that the reverse osmosis water purification unit can convert 600 gallons of salt water per hour into drinking water.

"The unit can run for 20 hours straight before it has to be shut down for about four hours for maintenance," Housch said.


To donate

Bank of Hawaii has established a special account to receive donations to the American Red Cross relief effort on Guam.

Checks should be made out to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund-Guam and can left at any Bank of Hawaii branch. Checks can be also mailed to the Red Cross Hawaii chapter at 4155 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, HI 96816.

The Salvation Army also is accepting donations. Checks made out to the Salvation Army Guam Relief can be sent to P.O. Box 620, Honolulu, HI 96809.

E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --