The Red Cross is a vital component in response to disasters large and small. Most of its work is done by volunteers. This is a summary of the work done by 47 Red Cross volunteers to help residents of the Marco Polo Condo during the recent fire.

Aloha Kakou,
It has been five weeks since the tragic fire at the Marco Polo occurred, an event that developed into the largest non-storm response we have had in the last few years. It is with extreme pride that I can say that we have been getting high praise from residents, government/community partners, building representatives and others for the speed of our response and the assistance that we have been able to provide. This is all thanks to the speed with which the 47 volunteers stepped forward at various stages to assist with everything from sheltering to moving materials, from providing casework to washing cots. MAHALO to them all!

To date, we have managed to:

  • Establish a rallying point at Ala Wai Community Park for about 200 residents, allowing them a safe place to sit, get some water and wait while the firefighters battled the blaze
  • Provide safe shelter at Iolani School for 112 residents who didn’t have a place to go that night.
  • Assist residents with reconnecting with their loved ones and encourage them to register on the Safe and Well website
  • Serve almost 800 meals and snacks to first responders and residents
  • Distribute over 550 disaster relief items to include comfort kits and cleaning supplies, as well as 195 packets of information to help with the recovery phase
  • Help 134 people replace essential medication and provide advice
  • Assist 296 with any mental health needs they may have
  • Open 40 client cases to provide 96 individuals assistance with their recovery
  • Secure close to $10,000 in in-kind donations to provide supplementary aid and services for residents to include transport from Uber, communications equipment from Verizon and gift cards from Foodland and CVS/Longs.

These numbers are only a snapshot of our impact, for the soft assistance of a listening ear or a hug are things not easily captured. This sentiment can be clearly seen in the Mahalo card that we received from a resident who received no hard assistance from us; the card is available at the link below if you’d like to read it.

With much appreciation,


Angela Woolliams

Disaster Program Manager – Honolulu County

American Red Cross of Hawaii

4155 Diamond Head Rd. 

Honolulu, HI 96816



The Red Cross is THE organization that shelters and assists in recovery during and after a disaster. Emergency Preparedness organizations of the state and county do not provide emergency shelter and currently, the Red Cross has the capability to shelter roughly 30,000 people.  The Red Cross is critically short of Shelter Managers and they cannot open a shelter if they cannot staff a shelter.  As you can imagine, managing a shelter takes considerable training. Anyone interested in getting training and helping out should contact Angela Wooliams.  Right now Windward Oahu only has shelter managers to open one shelter. We critically need your help.

Do not depend on the Government to help you. Be ready to live independent of any service for at least two weeks. You will need food, water, medicine and the ability to tailgate (cook your food)  The Emergency Services organizations will be too busy restoring infrastructure to provide help to the community. We have to be able to take care of ourselves.