Australia has granted Samoa A$4.1 million (T$7.8 m) to fund a new radio transmission tower to replace the Radio 2AP transmission tower.
The project is a partnership between the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, announced the funding in Samoa. She said radio communications are the most important form of technology for this disaster-prone region.
“One of the first casualties in a natural disaster is the communication and connectivity that gives people hope and enables people to contact their loved ones,” she said.
Radio 2AP transmission tower was built in 1948, and is primarily responsible for informing Samoans when natural or national disasters occur.
The station also broadcasts in American Samoa, the Cook Islands and Tokelau.
“It’s time to upgrade to ensure Radio 2AP can continue to provide essential services and keep people informed.”
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said it was fitting for Australia to assist Samoa as it was Australia who built the current mast and radio transmission tower in 1990, after Samoa was hit by Cyclone Ofa.
“The launch of the transmission today is historical to our Government and people,” Tuilaepa said.
“Samoa Radio 2AP is a government’s arm and a key communication to inform everyone and every part in Samoa while also reaching out to our American Samoa and Tokelau. The broadcasting power of radio 2AP come significantly important whenever Samoa is struck with devastating effects from any natural disasters.
“Natural disasters are now referred to by many experts as the worst form of terrorism category 5 Cyclone can usually result in loss of many lives Psychological depression damages to whole infrastructure government facilities and services and a whole lot more.
“So the urgency of the Government is to inform everyone before during and after a cyclone depends very much on the Ministry via the radio 2AP. Radio 2AP on the other hand depends on the strong and solid transmission tower to transmit broadcast to every home and everywhere in Samoa.
“That is why over the recent years the Government has making negotiations and seeking financial and experts assistance from the regional and global development partners for demolition and to construct a new transmission mast which will be able to reach out to every corner of our country. Government of Australia has kindly responded to our request for assistance.”