Kenneth Babauta had to climb over a small tree that had fallen in front of his home to show The Guam Daily Post what remained of his house in Dededo. Typhoon Mawar had ripped the tin roofing off the structure, soaking its insides in torrential rainwaters.

Most of the family, including several children, sought shelter inside a concrete bathroom next to the family's laundry room. Babauta remained in the laundry room, where he said he knew he'd be safe.

"I got soaking wet, which is fine with me," he said. "As long as the kids are safe, I'm good."

Among those children was 12-year-old Kandace Babauta.

While Mawar was not the first storm she has had to endure, Kandace Babauta said she didn't expect it to get as bad as it did.

"Terrified," the girl said, when asked how she felt when the roof came off her home. "I was screaming and shaking at the same time."

While the family came out unscathed, their home is now in tatters. But Kenneth Babauta said he's experienced this before, back during Typhoon Pongsona in 2002.

"If we found a way then, we'll find a way now," he added.

Mawar ripped through the island with devastating winds through Wednesday night, tearing away at trees or uprooting them entirely, downing power poles, and battering homes and businesses alike.

"We were at the mayor's office throughout the whole storm – it was really hard," said Louise Rivera, mayor of the municipality of Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon. "Even our shutters got torn open. We just saw a lot of things flying. ... We have the big ITC building right across us. There was a time we couldn't even see it at all. That big, wide building was invisible to us. All we could see was the (Bank of Guam) neon lights."

After the storm

The worst of Mawar had passed by Thursday morning. Village mayors spent most of the day clearing debris from roads to assist emergency responders and utility restoration efforts.

"There's just a lot of debris, we really got hit hard here in Tamuning," Rivera said, before expressing her disappointment that a storm shelter was not opened in the village despite her request.

However, she commended residents who opened up their homes to those who lost their roofs or were afraid during the storm.

While the focus Thursday was on clearing debris, mayors were also working with the American Red Cross on aid for residents in need, according to Sinajana Mayor Robert Hofmann, who is also the vice president of the Mayors' Council of Guam.

"Before the storm hit, we had a meeting with them," he said. "We talked about the homeless. We talked about the possibility of how many we foresee going to the shelters. We talked about those with substandard housing. ... We said this is pretty much what we think what our people would be looking for, in terms of recovery."

The Sinajana mayor added that he met with Red Cross representatives on Thursday, and they informed him they could probably help about 180 families with kits already on the island.

"So I sent it out to the mayors, saying if you know people that have lost their roofs completely, get the information and the addresses, and we'll compile that, and then we will go ahead and forward that to (the Red Cross)," Hofmann said.

Mayors have also asked for additional items, including coolers, water containers, Ziploc bags to keep documents dry, different types of blankets, different sizes of tents and pop-up canopies, and more tarps, according to Hofmann.

"(Red Cross) has even asked if we need assistance with feeding. I said I'll run that up the channels. Right now, we're not even anywhere thinking of that yet. We're still in kind of shock and recovery," Hofmann added.

President Joe Biden has already approved an emergency declaration for Guam. That authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief efforts intended to alleviate hardships caused by the emergency, and to provide assistance for required emergency measures.


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