How you can help victims of Marco Polo high-rise fire


Some victims of the fire lost their home and belongings.

Charity groups are doing as much as they can to assist those victims, but more help is needed.

We spoke to officials from The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

They tell us while in-kind donations are appreciated, financial support is one of the best ways to help.

One victim who lived on the 28th floor of Marco Polo did not want to be identified, but said she has been struggling after being displaced by the fire.

“This core group of us — 26th, 27th, 28th — we are not allowed to go back. I haven’t seen my place, yet. I don’t know what it looks like. I don’t know the damage is,” she said.

The woman went to the Red Cross shelter at Iolani School.

“I came today, I was desperate. I’m out of my wits. I’m in an expensive hotel. I’m spending a thousand dollars a month. I said I need help so I came,” the victim said. “They gave me some money so at least I can pay for the hotel room.”

“We have distributed some financial assistance for those people who aren’t able to stay with anybody, and don’t have insurance,” Coralie Chun Matayoshi of the American Red Cross Honolulu Hawaii Chapter said.

The Red Cross has received in-kind donations such as clothing and toiletries, but said these donations are not the most efficient.

“We have to sort it. Is it equitable? Is it the wrong size? So if somebody wants to help it’s better to just do a garage sale and donate the money,” Matayoshi said.

As experts on responding to disasters, Red Cross officials said financial support goes a long way.

“I think most people understand we respond to disaster every four days, and that we just need general funds to be able to help everyone at the time of need. So it’s best not to designate,” Matayoshi said.

The Salvation Army is also providing monetary assistance, and your donations go directly to the victims.

“We have set up a website or a page on our website just for the Marco Polo victims,” Anna Stone of The Salvation Army in Hawaii explains. “We have set aside this fund and 100 percent of the funds that we collect for Marco Polo victims will go to them.”

The American Red Cross shelter at Iolani School is now closed, but Red Cross volunteers will be at the Marco Polo building this entire week to help victims.

To learn more on how you can donate click here:

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