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Six public schools used as storm shelters

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 by Jolene Toves

Guam - Many island residents chose to ride out the storm at six emergency shelters throughout the island fleeing their homes for their safety.

In anticipation for Tropical Storm Halong hundreds of island residents began to seek safety in six emergency shelters throughout the island as of 5 am this morning. Many of these residents made the decision to pack up their necessities and leave their homes which may not be strong enough to withstand the winds or may be in a flooding zone. One of those residents is Andrea Bamba, who packed up her family to stay here at the Maria Ulloa shelter in Dededo. "Well, for one, the wind outside was very extreme at my house my outside porch area already collapsed and my room is completely flooded," she told KUAM News.

Emergency shelters were opened in the north they included Machananao Elementary, Astumbo Elementary and Maria Ulloa Elementary. For the central George Washington High School was designated as an emergency shelter and in the south Talafofo Elementary and Harry S. Truman also accepted shelterees.

Ramsey Mazawa and his family of 12 sought shelter at Machanaonao Elementary, and he said, "It wasn't me that decided I just followed my auntie and uncle because they were worried about their kids and safety if the wind just blew the roof off and care about his kids if they get hurt."

As island residents sought shelter from the storm shelter employees such as Maria Ulloa shelter manager Patrick Egrubay say things ran smoothly.  "The families understand that this of course is not a permanent situation this is something that they are going to adjust we have the sitting in a room sharing a classroom with other families so they are being very accommodating to each other they're respecting each other as they are enduring the storm together," he explained.

"So far everything is running smooth we have the support of different law enforcement we have our school attendance officer present to assist we also have two CAPE GPD officers here to help out provide additional security so that is reassuring to us the shelter employees."

As for those who sought shelter the experience of sheltering brought relief, Bamba says she feels safer and a sense of calm while Mazawa says the experience was very good and the shelter employees helpful.

At Machanaonao, that school did reach full capacity today with over a hundred individuals seeking safety at the school. Even though the closest point of approach has already passed, those who have sought shelter will not be asked to leave until the all-clear is given.

Aside from the emergency shelters the Guam Memorial Hospital opened its doors to pregnant women at seven this morning. According to the hospital's administer Joseph Verga things are running smoothly in both the maternity ward and the emergency room, adding they are not at full capacity but he anticipates that once Condition of Readiness 4 is announced they may see an increase in patients seeking care.


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