POST TYPHOON CHATA‘AN: SOME ON GUAM STILL SOAPING UP WITH RAINWATER

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POST TYPHOON CHATA‘AN: SOME ON GUAM STILL SOAPING UP WITH RAINWATER

By Scott Radway

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (July 20, 2002 – Pacific Daily News)---Half a month after Typhoon Chata'an rammed the island, Carmencita Pablo and her family still are collecting rainwater to flush the toilet and to scrub their bodies.

But even the rain has been undependable, she said, sighing. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, she gets out of bed to check the faucet.

"This is ridiculous," Pablo said, who lives on Cross Island Road where it cuts through the hills of Santa Rita. "You just sit around and you wait."

Her 16-year-old daughter is getting a rash. She wonders if her sons, home from college on the mainland, will come back next summer after spending their vacation scrambling for water to maintain the household's hygiene.

"I feel bad they are here on vacation and their vacation is blown," Pablo said, but quickly adding that at least she doesn't have any babies. There is a 3-year-old down the road with eczema, a skin disorder characterized by itching and inflammation, she said.

Pablo added that while she doesn't have power yet, either, the water is vital. She said if family members get too hot, they just shower. But power doesn't get you clean or flush the toilet.

"I am washing my clothes in buckets," Pablo said.

As the island recovers from Chata'an, many homes around the island have had their water and power restored. But stories like Pablo's are not uncommon, as pockets remain of residents still struggling without one or both of those basic necessities.

Government officials reported that crews were working all over the island yesterday. This week, officials said that about 77 percent of the island had power and nearly all had water, although some service still was sporadic.

Umatac is one of those pockets rounding into its third week without power. Residents there are beginning to fray in the unrelenting heat and darkness, said Frankie Quinata, 33, who lives in the village with his mother.

"Everybody's cranky," Quinata said.

Some families have taken to sitting in their cars, cooling their bodies in the air conditioning. Others have pulled their mattresses outside; some are sleeping in the beds of pickups.

"It's a little bit cooler outside than it is within four walls," Quinata said with tired resignation.

But the real bite, he said, is in the wallet.

There is the cost of batteries for the flashlight, the candles, money for repellent for the blooming population of mosquitoes, Quinata said. Washing clothes at a Laundromat is another new bill, and shopping day to day because there isn't a place to keep food is a pricey business.

"It's been taxing," Quinata said. "Everyone is tired and people are snapping. Something has to be done."

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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