Help in times of need

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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HELPING HAND: Project manager for A.D.R.A: Tuioti Autagavaia Sakaria Taituave and D.M.O. workers organising food and shelter for displaced families.

HELPING HAND: Project manager for A.D.R.A: Tuioti Autagavaia Sakaria Taituave and D.M.O. workers organising food and shelter for displaced families.

Evacuation Centres have been established to provide quick response for families whose living areas have been affected by flooding. 

One of them is at the Adventist Disaster Relief Agency (A.D.R.A.) in Lalovaea.

On Saturday night, it had already registered 163 individuals at their centre who require food and shelter since Cyclone Gita.

At the time Samoa Observer arrived at their premises, they had just finished feeding 100 people.

Projects Manager for A.D.R.A., Tuioti Autagavaia Taituave said at this time, they were working closely with Fire Emergency Services Authority, Disaster Management Organisation (D.M.O.) and National Emergency Organisation Committee (N.E.O.C.) to help displaced families.

“We need to do assessments of their places,” Tuioti said. 

“Once we know that the places are safe for them then we can take them back. We have some assistance from the Government and then also our own resources. We are using our own money to feed them morning tea and lunch, but we still have people and we don’t know how long we’re going to have them.”

Currently they are not yet at capacity and Tuioti says they can still take in more people.

“Yes we can still accept more people. However, the only people we will allow to come here are people who desperately need shelter, not the people who want to eat. The people here from D.M.O. will be doing some assessment of the places and we will get advice from them on how long we are going to keep the people here in the shelter.”

Evacuees inside the Seventh Day Adventist church hall are receiving food and shelter from ADRA.
Evacuees inside the Seventh Day Adventist church hall are receiving food and shelter from ADRA.

Valelia Ausage, who is a programme manager at A.D.R.A. has been co-ordinating food and shelter for those who have come in from around the town area.

“I think most of them are affected by the water, the river. So some of them have gone back to tidy up, but I think they’ll come back to night. So we are trying to feed them. 

“We already fed them breakfast this morning and we just finished giving them lunch so we’ll see what we are going to do for tonight (last night). We do need assistance of course, but we are just going to play it by ear for now.”

Ms. Ausage says it is mainly water damage to housing that is the main concern.

“Most of the houses, the water has already damaged the housing so they can’t really stay here that’s why they have come here. The last time we responded to something like this was Cyclone Evan. During Eveni most of the people who came here were affected by the water, especially Vasigano River and Magiagi with burst rivers and that. 

“So it’s the same kind of thing but it’s not as much as before, but we know that there’s a lot of help that’s needed by the people around town area and also with advice on what to do especially water.

“What we’ve seen is that because of the new road reconstructions, the water where they normally would flow before, now it’s being re directed and the water can’t find where to go and it’s kind of sitting around until maybe if we’re having low tide then the water will be able to go to the sea.

“Otherwise if its high tide, the sea will keep pushing the water back and that causes more problems.”

The evacuation centres are located at the G. Block National University of Samoa in Vaivase, A.D.R.A in Lalovaea and L.D.S in Vatoloa. There are also residents who have opened their private homes in Lalovaea, Salesatele and Matautu.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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