The plight of a Fugalei family

By Ilia L. Likou ,

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SAD WHEN IT RAINS: Pepe Su’a

SAD WHEN IT RAINS: Pepe Su’a

Flooding has been a common occurrence at the Apia Township this week.

Many Fugalei residents have been busy clearing up debris from the drainage, bridges and the road but they fear the worse.

Pepe Su’a told the Weekend Observer they are nervous about the weekend if the rain continues.

 “There’s always that threat when the water comes up," she said.

“We’ve been living on this land for many years now and this is one of many problems we’ve faced continuously.

“When this river overflows because of the low bridge, the water spills all over the place and we have to go through a cleaning process no matter if it’s still raining.”

Clearing a path for the water to flow through is the best they can do.

“That’s what we’ve been doing ever since we moved here in the last seven years. We don’t want to wait on others to come clear large logs and dead animals, instead we work on it ourselves.

“Before day time this morning, my son and I cleaned up all the rubbish and tried removing it from under the bridge because it blocked the water flow.

“What’s really sad is the fact that people throw dead animals into the river, and what is more sad, is that many times, we can smell the waste from sewage pipes that are often broken from some families up river.”

The area has for many years been prone to flooding as its location is near the riverbank. And the family has become used to the various activities carried out by other families during such periods.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve experienced this kind of behaviour by some residents. As you can see, large chunks of debris and objects like cars easily get picked up by floodwater and can easily kill a person.

“That’s why we always try to work together - clearing under the bridge. We don’t want to wait for an accident to happen but to be safe.”

She said that this happens because people are careless.

“This is what happens when we do not think about other people’s wellbeing, when we’re not working together for the good of others but just throwing anything in the river.

“I have children; it’s hard to live here if this continues.

UGLY SIGHT: Tree branches and rubbish pile up under the bridge.
UGLY SIGHT: Tree branches and rubbish pile up under the bridge.
UGLY SIGHT: Tree branches and rubbish pile up under the bridge.
UGLY SIGHT: Tree branches and rubbish pile up under the bridge.

“To be honest, the smell that come after the heavy rain – it’s so bad for the rest of the family especially the children.”

She urges government to fix the problem.

 “We’re not the only family that lives here, there are companies as well at the back. Looking at the condition of this bridge, I think it’s very dangerous.”

She claims her family and the other residents are finding it very difficult.

 “This is a result of the bridge being too low,” she said.

“Debris from up river is carried down the rest of the water track and builds up at the entrance or under the bridge.”

 This is her solution to the bridge problem.

“The government should look into upgrading bridges and drainage in town areas.

“Secondly, it’s a must to fix it and have it raised (Elevated) another 2 meters so the river will flow smoothly during rainy season.”  she continues.

“And like many who have lived so long near river banks particularly in this area and have experienced too many flooding I understand the dangers as well.

“Personally, floods kill people.

“We have children and we want to live in a much safer environment.

 “To us, it’s better to do something or else   the odour from the carcasses of dead animals will fill our house tomorrow morning.

 “We may never know the time; flood water can travel surprisingly quickly and weighs a lot, so people can easily get swept away by floods.”

“Yes, prevention is better than cure.”

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