Central villages hunker down for Mangkhut's passage - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Central villages hunker down for Mangkhut's passage

Posted: Sep 10, 2018 2:24 PM +10:00 Updated:

In Central Guam, tourists were sheltering in place at their Tumon hotels. The Guam Memorial Hospital was busy buttoning-up for patients and expectant mothers. But unlike the northern villages, there weren't nearly as many people seeking shelter.

In Mangilao, the George Washington High School gymnasium was fairly empty. There are only about 75 people here, and this has the largest capacity of any shelter on island with about 700. This is in contrast to Dededo, of course, which is overflowing, and they've had to open at least a couple of additional shelters. We're told by the coordinators that there's only been a trickling of people that have been coming in. and that in fact a couple of families from Yigo traveled all the way here because the capacity at the shelters where they would normally go were already at full capacity.

 KUAM News caught up with Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio, who was touring the shelters. He said, "I think a lot of people took it seriously, for good reason. It's always better to be over prepared, than underprepared."

Young Mangilao resident Sanny was at GW to ride out the storm with her family, saying, "It's kinda hard, but kinda fun too cause we're living in here." Asked if she felt safe, she said, "Yeah, cause it's a big gym, so it won't crash or something."

Tenorio says they will launch relief efforts soon after the storm passes, saying, "Of course, the assessment will be the first thing - the mayors, the public safety officials. We have the FEMA representatives, the Army corps of engineers, and other federal agencies that are working. The military has been very, very helpful and we've had a couple of different briefings over the last three days."

GMH also began early preparations. Chief Planner William Kando says they activated their Tropical Cyclone Response Plan, and stood up the Hospital Command Center. He said, "We actually had to secure the hospital and the skilled nursing facility. We actually had to start very early because we had to get all of our utilities to go, we had to top off on our liquid oxygen, our fuel for the generators and boilers, water, all of that. So we actually started very early when the first alerts started coming out."

He says both GMH and GRMC were accepting expectant mothers, a routine precautionary measure for when air pressure drops during storms.

Meanwhile in Tumon, thousands of tourists were hunkering down in their hotels, as the airport shut down by mid-day and all flights were cancelled.  At the Dusit Thani Resort Guam, a large screen TV monitor was set up in the lobby to update guests on the storm and the airline schedules.

Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association president Mary Rhodes told KUAM News, "Every hotel has safety protocols for manmade or natural disasters. And we follow the conditions of readiness so, of course, it's just staying out of the waters, not going into the waters, because of the high surf advisories, but it's very important to make sure that the streets are cleared."

Rhodes added, "Obviously, they're sheltered in place in some of the more resilient places, and we have our own water and fuel supply. So the hotels are really, really prepared for this."

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