Vaisigano battle bad weather

By Aruna Lolani ,

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Vaisigano’s matai, Seumanutafa Aeau Tiavolo.

Vaisigano’s matai, Seumanutafa Aeau Tiavolo.

Although the wet season is underway and flooding being experienced in some parts of Samoa, there are some residents far worse off than others.

Residents in the Vaisigano area fall into this category. 

They have to be cautious every time heavy rain falls because next to the Sheraton Hotel, is the Vaisigano river that overflows once the rain starts coming down strong. 

The villagers said the flooding is like being in a swimming pool. 

“The water doesn’t flow to where it used to before and that was towards the Police Station. There were drains at the ‘Aai ‘O Niue that the flood goes through but people have buried them.  That’s why the flood comes here. Even the Sheraton has put up a big fence as a protection from the flooding for them but it just makes the level get higher and itaffects all of us more, ” the village chief, Seumanutafa Aeau Tiavolo said. 

Seumanutafa spoke of how M.N.R.E. (Ministry Of Natural Resources and Environment) visited their village and informed them about their programme to stop the flooding. The proposed programme includes the building of a pipeline that goes through Sheraton’s  grounds taking in all the water and diverting it out to the river.  “We have never said anything after they (M.N.R.E.) informed us about this programme because they said if we ever interfere with their work, they would take their money back. So now I don’t know.” 

One of the family cleaning up after severe flooding
One of the family cleaning up after severe flooding

Chris Talauati, one of the villagers, said on Wednesday night, the river overflowed causing severe flooding. He said he is always worried about his little children when this happens. 

“Not only did we worry about the time when the flood just started but also when it finished because there’s a lot of rubbish and waste left behind and that can cause us to get sick. By the time the flood settles down and goes away, there’s way too much dirt”, he said pointing to the cleaning process done by his family. 

“The government’s programme that they said they were going to do, it’s still not happening yet. They only come and measure how deep the water is so maybe in another 10 years, it should be ready.”

Most of the villagers have been staying in Vaisigano their whole lives so every time the heavy rain falls, being cautious is all they can be. Most of them don’t have anywhere else to go. 

Another villager, Talauati Tolovae said, “We are used to this situation. All we do when it come is just be prepared. We have nowhere else to go, which was why we built our other house with a higher foundation to stay in when it floods. There’s a big wall between us, Eveni and the Sheraton, so the flood just fills up back here where we stay. We are going to live like this because there’s nothing we can do about it.” 

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