Resident says wall could have helped

By Nefertiti Matatia and Ivamere Nataro ,

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Herbert Lees.

Herbert Lees.

Criticisms of the Samoa Met Office that they did not issue enough warnings about Cyclone Gita are unfounded.

So says Herbet Lees who believes the cyclone warnings given out to the public were sufficient and timely.

“It’s not an excuse to say there are not enough warnings,” the 62-year-old from Lelata said. 

“There’s not enough time for people to evacuate but there were enough warnings.

“When the cyclone comes, no one can fight it; the only option is to find refuge somewhere safe.

“In this life we have to always be prepared for the unexpected.”

Mr. Lees told the Samoa Observer the majority of people in Lelata have experienced such events because it happened in 2012 when Cyclone Evan devastated Samoa. 

“So now when the flood comes we are not that worried because they all know what to do. One thing I am happy about is that no one died,” he explained. 

He said they hope that the construction of the wall beside the Vaisigano riverbank would reach Lelata soon because families in the area suffer during floods. 

“The saddest part is the wall. We had a village meeting with families that were affected by Cyclone Evan in 2012, people from the village and government representatives,” Mr. Lees said. 

“If the wall has been built already, families from Lelata and Ma’agao and Levili would have all been safe.

“Because once Lelata is swallowed by the Vaisigano River, all the areas close by the river bank gets affected.”

He said it would have been better if the people responsible for building the wall back then would have listened to them because they were the ones who get affected.

“We are the ones who live the reality of such disasters.” 

Mr. Lees added the flooding of the Vaisigano River could be attributed to project works carried out by the Electric Power Corporation (E.P.C). 

“The riverbank beside Lelata used to be really deep, but because there was much digging done to lay a pipe for the E.P.C., it has affected the depth of the river, making it shallower and also plants have died.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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