Pacific islanders in Micronesia and the Northern Marianas will have to wait until after the holidays for the annual rite of presents falling from the sky.
A tropical storm forced Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to postpone its 52nd annual Christmas drop until after the first of the year, said Tech. Sgt. Jeff Capenos.
The humanitarian mission was to start Sunday and end Wednesday but organizers decided to delay it due to a typhoon watch Sunday. Typhoon Talas, downgraded to a tropical storm Sunday night, was moving quickly through the Micronesian islands on a projected path south of Guam, the Pacific Daily News reported Monday.
“It’s unfortunate the weather caused us to postpone this but we will ensure that this goes off in the New Year,” Capenos said Monday.
The drop is conducted with help from the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Yokota’s 36th Airlift Squadron owns and operates the C-130 cargo planes that drop bundles of donated goods to remote islands throughout Micronesia and Northern Marianas, north and south of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean.
In years past, items collected from local businesses and community members on Guam have included fishing nets, construction materials, canned goods, clothing, toys, school supplies, powered milk and rice.
Donations usually are sealed in plastic inside cardboard boxes and hooked to small parachutes.