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Volunteers find ‘off-the-grid’ senior citizen

AFTER being “off-the-grid” for 11 days, a 79-year-old Japanese man was found by members of the Community Outreach Recovery Efforts near his house on Capital Hill, Sunday.

Akio Tsuda

Akio Tsuda was “not in a good shape” when they found him, CORE volunteer Mami Ikeda said. He was walking to the nearest store to buy water, she added.

The search for Tsuda began when his daughter Lisa Borja, who lives on Guam, contacted U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan and asked help to locate his father. Borja said they had not been in contact with her father since Typhoon Yutu hit the island on Oct. 25-25.

Ikeda said Kilili’s staffer, Tina Sablan, “contacted me to accompany her as translator — [Tsuda] is not fluent in English and his children do not speak Japanese.”

Ikeda said Tsuda has been residing on island since 1975.  He lives alone in a two-story house hidden from the main road, she added.

“His kids, who are living off-island, have been begging him to live with them but he kept refusing their offer,” Ikeda said. “When Typhoon Yutu hit the islands, his kids lost contact with him completely.”

Tsuda was completely isolated, Ikeda said. “He has no car to use to drive up the main road. He has no landline phone. His only means of communication was his low-tech cellphone.”

Despite his condition when he was found, Tsuda was in a good mood, Ikeda said. “He wore his friendliest smile [when he met us]. He said he could not charge his phone because his house had no power.”

Ikeda said Tsuda was running out of food and water. “Obviously, he was not eating properly and he was not hydrated enough.”

She added, “His blood pressure was high, and the blood sugar was low. We were glad we located him right away and brought him to the San Antonio satellite clinic so doctors could see him.”

Afterward, Ikeda said Tina Sablan set up a video call to Tsuda’s children on Guam and in Seattle so they could communicate.

Tina Sablan also helped him register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency so he could apply for disaster assistance, Ikeda said.

“I am overwhelmed for receiving so many help from so many people. Thank you for all that you did for me,” Ikeda quoted Tsuda as saying.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/108736-volunteers-find-off-the-grid-senior-citizen

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