GUAM IS­LAN­DERS PRE­FER ‘CRAZY KIM’ TO TY­PHOONS

Res­i­dents fear pro­jec­tiles from storms more than nu­clear at­tack

New Straits Times - - World -

UAM res­i­dents say that if given the choice, they would rather face the wrath of “crazy” Kim Jong-un than the power of a ty­phoon, as they count down to­wards a threat­ened North Korean mis­sile at­tack.

As Py­ongyang’s dead­line drew closer, the arch­bishop of the pre­dom­i­nately Catholic US ter­ri­tory urged priests to pray for peace at Sun­day mass and pre­pared for a peace rally here.

But on the streets the out­ward ap­pear­ance re­mained calm, with the main con­cern be­ing the ap­proach of the ty­phoon sea­son.

“To be hon­est, I’m more wor­ried about the pro­jec­tiles from the ty­phoons when we get strong winds, than what­ever pro­jec­tiles Kim says he will launch on Guam,” Jan­ice Fu­rukawa, a 58-year-old mother, said as she pre­pared her ty­phoon emer­gency kit at her home in the vil­lage of Piti.

Trump has vowed to pro­tect the western Pa­cific is­land and in a call to Guam Gov­er­nor Ed­die Calvo yes­ter­day, he “re­as­sured” him that “United States forces stand ready to en­sure the safety and se­cu­rity of the peo­ple of Guam, along with the rest of Amer­ica”.

Ro­man Catholic arch­bishop Michael Byrnes asked priests to “pray for peace be­tween our na­tions and res­o­lu­tion of dif­fer­ences”.

Rolando Zepeda, 57, a teacher at Saint An­thony’s School, said he was not mak­ing any emer­gency plans for a North Korean at­tack.

“But I am al­ways quick to shut­ter up when­ever we get ty­phoon ad­vi­sories or tsunami warn­ings.”

“Kim is as crazy as ty­phoons, but I am more scared of ty­phoons be­cause they are real threats.”

North Korea had threat­ened to at­tack Guam in 2013, lead­ing Calvo to play down the lat­est cri­sis, and in­stead, re­mind the 162,000 res­i­dents they should pre­pare for the in­evitable ty­phoon.

“You know ty­phoons can strike any­time... so that means, fam­i­lies are mak­ing fam­ily emer­gency plans and kits to­gether,” he said.

“With that, ev­ery­body should live like busi­ness as usual. It’s the week­end. Go out, have a good time.”

If North Korea does launch a mis­sile strike, there is a public warn­ing sys­tem in place and a 14minute win­dow to re­act, Home­land Se­cu­rity said.

On Fri­day, it posted guide­lines on its web­site about what to do in the event of a nu­clear at­tack.

“Ex­pect to stay in­side for at least 24 hours un­less oth­er­wise told by au­thor­i­ties. If caught out­side, do not look at the flash or fire­ball — It can blind you.

“Take cover be­hind any­thing that might of­fer pro­tec­tion. Lie flat on the ground and cover your head,” the ad­vi­sory warned.

Fu­rukawa, who lived through Ty­phoon Paka that left 5,000 home­less and more than 30 per cent of public build­ings se­ri­ously dam­aged in 1997, said peo­ple in Guam were re­silient.

“We al­ways sur­vive. It’s the re­cov­ery pe­riod that is hard. But sur­vival is part of our cul­ture,” she said. AFP

AGENCY PIX

Pupils sit­ting on the re­mants of a World War 2 bomb at Asan Me­mo­rial Park in Guam on Fri­day. Res­i­dents are more afraid of ty­phoons than a North Korean mis­sile at­tack by Kim Jong-un (in­set).

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