Reach out to Guam's Pacific neighbors, donate water
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- About three weeks ago, severe drought conditions were issued for 13 islands and atolls in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Team Andersen members, with support from the local community, are currently gathering water to deliver as soon as possible.
Tech. Sgt. Paul Alfred, 36th Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, who is originally from Likiep, one of the affected atolls, has been leading the efforts and has already collected about 500 gallons of water on behalf of Andersen.
"As military members, and members of the Pacific, we should be looking out for our neighbors, especially in the Micronesian islands, and right now they need us," Alfred said. "It's normal for the islands to experience small drought conditions, but this year it's worse than it's been in a long time and might soon be elevated to a state of disaster."
Alfred is working with his wife, also a native of the Marshall Islands, and other squadron members to get the word out about the water and monetary donations to organizations on and off base. Alfred said he wants everyone to combine their efforts and assist the islanders in need.
According to Alfred, the 36th OSS members are ready to go with water and are just awaiting missions heading toward the Marshall Islands with space available on the aircraft to assist in delivery.
He has coordinated with members from the islands and they are prepared for the delivery. The C-130 Hercules aircraft is capable of landing in two locations on the Marshall Islands: the capital city, Majuro, and the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll. Each location has already organized ways to unload and disperse the water throughout the island chain.
"It's what we do as Airmen, help those in need," said Maj. Joseph Little, 36th OSS director of operations. "It's important to help our neighbors in the Pacific, and the Marshall Islands are a U.S. protectorate just like the Mariana Islands."
Little said even though the Marshall Islands are experiencing a historic drought, this is one of those instances where it has not grabbed national media attention and Alfred is looking to change that.
"The lifestyle there is very simple and they still rely heavily on resources from the land," said Alfred, who lived there throughout his childhood until his late teens. "This drought is putting them at high risk and affecting everything from crops to drinking water. Any support we get to help them is greatly appreciated."
To make donations of water or money, contact Sergeant Alfred at 366-5230.