Area prone to rockslides under assessment

By Vatapuia Maiava ,

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AREA UNDER ASSESMENT AND MONITORING BY D.M.O.: The rockslide which occurred last week Tuesday. Photo / Fefiloi Renate Kerstin

AREA UNDER ASSESMENT AND MONITORING BY D.M.O.: The rockslide which occurred last week Tuesday. Photo / Fefiloi Renate Kerstin

A risk assessment on an area prone to rockslides/landslides because of the nature of its steep cliff-like terrain is underway.

This was confirmed by officials of the Disaster Management Office (D.M.O.) yesterday.

The area which is currently being monitored by D.M.O. was the site of a rock-slide which occurred last week Tuesday.

The rockslide occurred on the east-coast road of Upolu between the villages of Luatuanu’u and Solosolo which momentarily halted traffic for traveling vehicles.

According to an official of D.M.O. assessing and monitoring hazardous areas is all in their job description.

“We are currently conducting our risk assessment of the site,” the official said.

“That’s the work we do here, whether it is flooding, landslide or any other form of hazards. We conduct assessments and then monitor the area.”

And because of the landslide phenomenon’s unpredictable nature, D.M.O. advises the public to be careful when driving along the area, especially when there is heavy rain.

“Landslides are very unpredictable,” the official said.

“That area is very rocky and mountainous, the rocks seem to have come loose over time and during rainy days there is a high potential for landslides to occur.”

“As the rocky materials come loose, it will slide off to the side of the cliff.” 

“But this is the work we have to do; we can only act when landslides occur due to it being unpredictable. We will continue to monitor the whole situation whether there is something or not.”

“Once the monitoring and assessments are done, then we will be able to provide a report for the public and for people traveling on the road.”

The official also explained that because of the long period of heavy rain over the festive season, it has heightened chances of rockslides/landslides occurring at the time.

He adds in the past few days, Samoa has experienced much sunshine so the risks of another landslide/rockslide occurring are low.

“At the time it occurred, it was very dangerous because there were many cars going to the rural areas for family outings,” the D.M.O. official said.

“So we posted warnings on our official Facebook page for the people returning from their outings. Our warning right now is to watch out for the weather from the meteorology division.”

“Right now the dirt is very saturated due to the heavy rains during November and December so just a little rain will result in a lot of surface runoff.”

“Heavy rain will increase the potential of landslides and landslips so just keep an eye out for the weather bulletin.”

Furthermore, D.M.O. advises the public to contact them if assistance is needed regarding hazards or disasters.

“For the public, if you are going through any complications or need any assistance then feel free to contact us or the meteorology division,” the official said.

“We are all under M.N.R.E. so you can contact us through there as well. You can also contact other emergency services available.”

“We are under emergency management and until disasters occur, we will be on standby and monitor all cases.”

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