Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan) agrees it is high time for the CNMI government to look into a more reliable sheltering program.
Demapan said this is relevant in the wake of the devastation of Typhoon Soudelor, which left hundreds of residents homeless due to damaged houses.
“With weather experts forecasting one of the worst El Niño periods in recent years, more storms are expected to form in our region,” Demapan said. “Typhoon Soudelor has exposed so many degrees of vulnerability in the Commonwealth and the adverse impacts on many of our residents is beyond measure.”
The legislator said he is “pleased with recent reports from the Office of the Governor regarding discussions on building shelters in the villages so that families have a place to seek refuge during a storm.”
He said he will recommend “a collective dialogue on how best we can mitigate this issue to prevent families from being separated or sustaining bodily injury during the passing of a major storm.”
Demapan said it’s important for the government to take a look at the issue from different perspectives.
“Gov. [Eloy S.] Inos has raised the idea of building shelters attached to people’s homes either as a basement-type or above ground, but we should not rule out the possibility of building centralized shelter facilities in densely populated villages so that more residents can be accommodated in a timely and safer manner,” he said.
Demapan said having “several centralized shelter facilities in crowded villages will greatly help residents to get to safer ground without having to take the risk of traveling far before, during, and after a storm.”
These facilities “would also relieve the demands imposed on our public schools and their respective employees.”
Inos earlier said he is looking into future plans, which will include “shelters” for houses in vulnerable communities that can withstand devastating typhoons such as Soudelor.
The “typhoon shelters” will be located near or inside people’s homes, and aside from providing a “safe zone,” will also have built-in water catchment tanks and will have—ideally—emergency rations.