Mother relives Cyclone Gita nightmare and aftermath

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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NEED HELP: Ana Maulu’ulu from Tanumapua shares her challenging experience.

NEED HELP: Ana Maulu’ulu from Tanumapua shares her challenging experience.

Tropical Cyclone Gita was a living nightmare for Ana Maulu’ulu.  

The unemployed mother of five, from Tanumapua, said during the night of the cyclone, she had to walk with her family to seek refuge in their other relatives’ homes in Lepea.

According to her, it was an unforgettable night, a fearful experience she had to take  all for the safety of her children.

“I know for a fact that there could have been a major problem if we stayed behind when the cyclone came. Looking at the damage, one of us could have been hurt.

“We were not safe because of the condition of the house that we live in. The cyclone came unexpectedly.

“Despite the strong winds, we had to move away immediately, even if it means walking with my children in the early hours of the morning to look for safety,” the 45-year-old said.

She says moving to Lepea was a good idea. 

The winds were so strong that a tree, which fell and ruined their kitchen, almost destroyed their house. 

 “We need to remove the big trees beside the house because there is a possibility that it will affect us in the future.”

They may not have a proper oven to cook their food, but they use an iron gallon as a burner. The shelf they placed their plates on was also destroyed.

“My family lives off tinned fish for a reason. We cannot afford any meat or a fridge as well. We have two buckets which we use to store food. One is for the tinned fish and the other for our flour, sugar, salt and things like that. In that way the food that the children eat is safeguarded.”

Many of their belongings inside their house were ruined by the cyclone because their iron roofing was removed by the strong winds.

“The biggest challenge that we face is that most of our belongings have been damaged such as the carpet and tarpaulins inside our house.

“After the cyclone, we came back and the iron roofing for the back of the house was all gone, luckily my husband’s family offered to buy us new iron roofing.”

Talking to the Village Voice team she shared that since both she and the father of the family are unemployed, they rely heavily on the land for survival, but their plantation was also destroyed.

“I don’t know how I am going to raise my five children. My eldest child is 18 years old and the second is 16 years old and the three younger ones are still in school.

“We receive $200 a day from our crops, then we budget that money wisely. We put aside money for the children’s education; spend money on the cash power, our water bill and our meal for the day. 

“So I don’t have anything on me that I will be able to provide for my children, everything has been ruined.”

Mrs. Maulu’ulu mentioned one of the biggest problems that they face is the lack of water, which is why they need a water tank.

“Having a water tank will be very helpful because not every time the water supply is consistent. Sometimes when the tap water goes off, we t don’t know what else to do, we don’t have money to buy buckets to store water.

“We head to Lepea in terms of water supply so we need a water tank.”

She added they don’t have money to replace what has been damaged by TC Gita.

“In this life that we live in, every family is striving for the greater cause, but there are two different kinds of family; those that can afford and others that can’t, I am one of them. We struggle to survive.”

With so many cases happening to children dying unexpectedly, she as a parent is seeking help for a proper pathway for the safety of her children.

“We are never aware of what the future holds; there are certain times when unexpected incidents happen and we knew it was not safe all along, but did nothing to it.

“We don’t have a proper pathway to our house, it is steep and making your way down is an issue we constantly face. During rainy days, it creates puddles and that’s why I am always careful with allowing my children to walk around when the weather is not good.”

For anyone who is willing to help Mrs. Maulu’ulu’s family, contact the number 7285013.

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