Emergency shelters offer safe harbor from Typhoon Yutu

File photo of shelterees

Guam – Eight emergency shelters opened this afternoon in anticipation of Super Typhoon Yutu and families started rolling in even before those shelters officially opened.

Families all around the island are preparing for typhoon Yutu to make its way past guam. and for many families that mean boarding up windows but for those who are less fortunate and living in substandard housing a very difficult question must be addressed. Do we leave everything we have and possibly loose it all or do we seek shelter somewhere safe and save what’s important in life – family.

For a group of families living in the Dededo area the answer is simple but at the same time hard. Especially because Joakina Edin and her extended family have already lost so much.

“I was trying to gather everything together to prepare for the thing happen. Especially for this one, this is my brother in law he is very sick he is half paralyzed and that’s why I am so worried whether we stay or we go but I was agreed we are going. We are going to move to which shelter is open so I try to take care of our stuff. First the fire came on April 18th then the typhoon Mangkhut and then we don’t have left over of our clothes this is only what we have that’s why I am so worried,” tearfully shared Edin.

For this particular family everything that they own is under a canopy, the only structures in the area built out of wood and tin. They are taking the time to store all their belongings in the tin shack in hopes that it will make it through the storm.

“I try to think the best like to protect them from getting wet because we don’t have anything to do with them. My family there is four of us plus two of our brothers there are 6 adults,” explained Edin.

Each of them with their own families will be making their way to a shelter, which will take several trips as they all share one vehicle.

After visiting the Edin family PNC made its way to Maria Ulloa Elementary school, one of the eight designated shelters. While there we met with the school’s Principal Beverly San Agustin.

“Ulloa has a capacity of 300 shelterees and so we will wait for the families to completely until they are fully registered. Here at Ulloa specifically we utilize the cafeteria first according to Guam fire… the allotment for the cafeteria is 55 person and then we have the various areas that is visible 2nd grade and 1st grade classroom .I have two rooms set aside for elderly and special needs for those who need special accommodations,” stated San Agustin.

During Typhoon Mangkhut several shelters filled to capacity prompting the opening of shelters. Today at Maria Ulloa, five families arrived even before the shelter officially opened.

It is recommended that those seeking shelter go early. If you are in need of adequate shelter to ride out the storm please make your way to one of the following emergency shelters:

· Astumbo Elementary School
· Maria A. Ulloa Elementary School
· Upi Elementary School
· Machananao Elementary School

· George Washington High School

· Harry S. Truman Elementary School
· Merizo Martyrs Memorial School
· Talofofo Elementary

If you are in need of transportation to a shelter Dededo Mayor Melissa Savares along with other village mayors can be contacted for assistance.

“We’ll be here in case any one needs to get to shelters. We will coordinate for transportation through Department of Public Works,” stated the Mayor.

If you are headed to a shelter don’t go empty handed, there are a few things you will need to bring with you, such as identification cards, shot records, birth certificates, food and water for seven days, bedding and hygiene products.

For those not seeking shelter and riding out the storm in their homes Mayor Savares has this to say about minding your children.

“You know the last storm we had kids riding their bikes out on the streets during the heavy rains, kids walking and running on the streets playing. I am really asking parents keep your children indoors, we need to be safe and we don’t want any unnecessary accidents especially with the children,” stressed Mayor Savares.

SOURCEJolene Toves
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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.