The family of 63-year-old Matailiili Lapi from the village of Samusu, Aleipata, is grateful.
A week after Tropical Cyclone Gita left their family devastated with damages to their house and plantation, the mother of six said at least they are alive and that no lives were taken.
But their Cyclone Gita experience would be hard to forget.
The category 2 cyclone damaged their house so that they had to seek refuge elsewhere.
“The only place of refuge was the family across from us, their house was safe because it was cemented and sheltered properly,” she said.
“We just left our house and let the cyclone do whatever it wanted to do with it.”
She said floodwaters entered their house and damaged most of their belongings.
“As you can see, the home that I now live in is starting to fall apart and we even need help with our belongings. Tropical Cyclone Gita has ruined most of everything that we own.”
“One of our wooden shelves was blown out by the strong winds and even our Samoan house destroyed and we still don’t have any time to properly fix our house.”
“So many things in our house have been ruined by the cyclone, because the foundation of the house is not cemented and it is made out of wood. The water entering our house makes it unsafe to live in,” she said.
Matailiili says their plantation was also destroyed and this is a worry because only one person works in their family and the plantation was their main source of daily feed.
“By the looks of it, we will be having rice for dinner and that is the only option there is, and then again it will cost us money.”
“My son is the only one who works in Apia. Out all my children, he is the only one who provides for everything we need at home, church, village and the extended family,” she added.
But her son has five children and what he earns doesn’t provide for all their family’s needs.
“We cannot budget his pay with the many things that we need in our house, as a matter of fact, we struggled before but now we have to suffer more because our house has been ruined,” said Matailiili.
Their tap water and electricity has been disconnected, and she says that they use wheelbarrows to fetch buckets of water to be able to do their daily chores.
“We have no electricity in this whole area, from the village of Falefa all the way to Lalomanu.”
For anyone who is eager to help Matailiili family, contact the number 7249073.