Kim Jong Un ‘crazy as ty­phoons’ but not as scary, say Guam res­i­dents

North Korea pre­vi­ously threat­ened to at­tack Guam in 2013, lead­ing the Gov­er­nor to play down the lat­est cri­sis

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Ha­gatna, US - Guam 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 in the cap­i­tal Ha­gatna.

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 Jong-Un 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 western vil­lage of Piti.

North Korea, an­gered by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s threat of ‘fire and fury’, has promised to have plans ready in a matter of days to launch an ‘en­velop­ing fire’ of mis­siles at Guam, which houses two large US mil­i­tary bases and is home to more than 6,000 US mil­i­tary per­son­nel.

Trump has vowed to pro­tect the western Pa­cific is­land and in a call to Guam Gov­er­nor Ed­die Calvo on Satur­day ‘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 in a state­ment to ‘of­fer prayers for peace be­tween our na­tions, just res­o­lu­tion of dif­fer­ences’.

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

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

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

North Korea pre­vi­ously threat­ened to at­tack Guam back in 2013, lead­ing Calvo to play down the lat­est po­ten­tial 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 con­duct their lives 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 14-minute 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,” the ad­vi­sory warned. “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.”

Res­i­dent Fu­rukawa, who lived through Ty­phoon Paka which left 5,000 home­less and more than 30 per­cent 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.


Peo­ple walk past a wall painted with the slo­gan ‘I love Guam’, in the Tu­mon dis­trict on the is­land of Guam on Fri­day

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