Businesses brace for the worst

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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A look at the shops in Saleufi yesterday after the flooding subsided.

A look at the shops in Saleufi yesterday after the flooding subsided.

Despite the threat of the cyclone, it was business as usual in Saleufi yesterday.

Hit by flooding on Thursday and yesterday, retailers did their best to go about their usual day albeit still keeping a watchful eye on the wet weather outside.

“Yesterday there was flooding but it didn’t get too bad, I think that so long as the river doesn’t burst we should be fine,” said Sala at the Body Shop. 

“We have had years where the water comes into the shop and that’s when we have a problem but this flooding happens every year during the wet season.

“The Government has been saying that they were going to fix the road for years but nothing has been done. Luckily we are slightly raised. 

“So far the water hasn’t come in yet but I think it’s going to get worse. We’re in the worst section in town; it doesn’t take much to flood it.”

As of lunchtime yesterday there was no visible flooding or heavy downpour but according to Sala, that would have been the perfect time to clean up what Thursday’s flooding brought in.

“Someone should be doing a clean up because you know how it got flooded yesterday, there’s a lot of dirt blocking the drains and that’s what they should be doing right now before it rains again because all that dirt is a problem.”

The Ace Hardware store was prepared with sandbags on hand should the drizzling rain turn into a full out downpour. 

The store was quieter than usual, but a retailer said that this was normal  during such weather with customers choosing to stay indoors. A male shopkeeper who did not want to be named said, “This happens every year. They don’t have a hydraulic system to pump out the excess water when it gets flooded.”

The Samoa Observer asked if they had sought out any assistance to fix the drainage system to help prevent flooding on the road outside and the man replied: “You know how it is; the Government keeps their own schedules of when they want to come and fix the road. 

“They should install hydraulics which throws all the water out when it floods and the sea water comes in. We pretty much have to clean out all the dirt and rubbish that comes in with the water.”

Across the hardware store is Top Cuts and barber, Danny Malala says even though his shop at lower ground than the other shops around him, he hasn’t had anything to worry about yet.

“If the shop gets flooded, I’ll just tell my clients that we’ll be closed for a week so that I can clean up the shop but so far nothing has happened yet. 

“I’ve just been watching the other shops across the road like Ace Hardware putting up their sand bags to keep the water out yesterday.

“It doesn’t seem that bad, hopefully the cyclone passes. It seems worse than it really is with social media blowing up with my friends overseas posting ‘praying for Samoa’ and I’m looking around thinking I haven’t seen anything to panic about yet. But let’s just hope it passes.”

Jane Rasmussen at Jane’s Pasifika Travel said the only trouble she was having with her business was the hassle of flights to Fiji being cancelled because of the weather, but other than that her business was on high enough ground that it wasn’t affected by the flooding.

Elsewhere in Samoa, businesses spent the afternoon and late hours of last night boarding up their properties. 

The shops were kept busy yesterday as people made last minute emergency supply shopping.

The most wanted item yesterday were candles, which many stores had run out of.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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