Shelter seekers ready to begin again - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Shelter seekers ready to begin again

Posted: Sep 12, 2018 3:48 PM +10:00 Updated:

Isabel Perez and her family will be starting over.

Typhoon Mangkhut took her family’s roof, destroying most of their possessions in the process. Forced to take shelter at a nearby school during the height of Mangkhut’s passage, Isabel and the family had no idea they’d lost everything until they went back home the next day.

“We all cried when we saw my mom break down,” Perez said. “She was saying if it’s not livable she was worried about our children. Just watching her cry, it hurts to see your mother cry because your father put all his work into this house. Twenty years we’ve been here and only this storm took our house. So to see my mom cry like that, it’s emotional.”

Perez, her young children and her mother Doris Gogue are now living at the northern shelter at the Astumbo gym.

Perez showed us the kids room, where beds were soaked and the ceiling opened up to blue skies. Just a couple of days ago, these skies were full of typhoon-force winds and torrential rains.

Now the family stays in a ten foot by ten foot square, sharing two bathrooms with nearly 300 other people who have been displaced by Typhoon Mangkhut. She tells KUAM News prayer and family have held them together – but they’re still coping with how they’ll get back on their feet again.

“Pray for everyone, not just for us – but for everybody else that lost their home. It does hurt knowing you have nowhere to take your babies,” Perez cried.

At the Astumbo gym, families mingled with one another. Some slept in the breezy gym, while these children passed the time playing cards.

What has it been like for you guys here?

“Awesome,” the children said.

Having fun?

“Yeah,” they said.

Some at the shelter are Section 8 applicants, and Dededo Mayor Melissa Savares said Guam Housing and GHURA will be on site tomorrow to help fast track Section 8 and Low Income housing applicants.

Back at Perez’s family home, she showed us a statue of the Virgin Mary that weathered the storm. While the house’s roof blew away and the family’s belongings were destroyed by wind and water, this statue stayed put – Perez said she believes Mother Mary did her best to protect the home. She tells us she comes back to the house to honor the Blessed Mother.

“We just come and pray and say thank you – at least she saved us something,” Perez said.

Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo pushing President Trump to declare Guam a federal disaster area. That would open up federal assistance for Perez and others who have suffered devastating loss because of Mangkhut.

“If there’s not state of emergency, as you can see we’re going to end up using the same tin and then the next storm comes and blows it away. We’re going to end up doing the same thing,” Perez said.

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