MANY locals are forced to move to safer grounds, leaving their submerged homes behind whenever tropical cyclones or days of incessant rains batter the low-lying communities in Catarman, Northern Samar.To mitigate the loss of lives in disaster-prone areas, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) formally inaugurated its first multipurpose evacuation facility in the province on Nov. 10, 2023.The two-story building costing P50 million is the biggest evacuation structure to be built in Catarman's Barangay Polangi, which usually has one of the highest numbers of displaced families whenever natural disasters strike.'Pagcor's evacuation center is an example of how a national government project trickles down to local communities to benefit our entire population. I hope that we can continue to strengthen our partnership with Pagcor,' Catarman Mayor Francisco Aurelio Rosales 3rd said.The lack of evacuation facilities in the municipality is one of the major challenges of the local government unit in disaster response, said Catarman Municipal Risk Reduction Officer Emerald Guevarra.'We have 55 barangay, but we only have 10 designated evacuation centers and most of them are schools, chapels and other private establishments. These are not enough because of Catarman's huge population,' she explained.Besides the Catarman project, two-story evacuation facilities are also being constructed in the towns of Maslog and Borongan in Eastern Samar.To date, a total of 36 Pagcor evacuation facilities in various parts of the country have been completed while 36 are still under construction.