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UPDATE: Emergency shelters include church halls and schools

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — During the 12:01a.m Feb. 18th government briefing on the latest update on the storm system impacting the territory, the local Education Department reported that there are 18 people who remain housed at Tafuna Elementary School.

ASDOE activated emergency shelters at public schools beginning last Saturday, as part of their response to storms/disasters. ASDOE officials shared during a government weather briefing that the people staying at these public schools need to bring their own food supply since this isn’t a declared disaster.

There were about 9 people staying at Samoana HS, but they have since left.

During Monday’s briefing, ASG officials said some families were staying temporarily with neighbors or relatives until other arrangements were made - some were just waiting out the storm. While public schools are closed today and tomorrow, DOE director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga requests all ASDOE personnel to report to work and conduct assessments of their schools. She says that while some schools did not encounter problems during the storm, others did.

At Samoana HS, the administration building roof was damaged and a temporary fix was blown away by strong winds, according to school officials.

For now, ASDOE reports that 98 people have sought temporary shelter at 4 church halls. This includes 15 people at the Church of Jesus Christ at Aunu’u; 35 at the Church of Jesus Christ at Faleniu; more than 35 people at the Methodist Church in Fagatogo; and two families at Lauli’i Methodist.

Manumalo Baptist has also opened its facilities, but no one was staying there as of press time.