The man with the updates

By Vatapuia Maiava ,

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UPDATING THE PEOPLE: The Cyclone Amos skeleton crew at Radio Polynesia. Seti Afoa and Olga von Reiche Keil Photo credit / Magic FM Facebook page

UPDATING THE PEOPLE: The Cyclone Amos skeleton crew at Radio Polynesia. Seti Afoa and Olga von Reiche Keil Photo credit / Magic FM Facebook page

As people huddled together in their homes in attempts to keep dry and safe during tropical cyclone Amos, one man made it his mission to keep the public well informed.

With constant/accurate updates on the storm’s path and where the winds were strongest, Seti Afoa used social media to let the public know what they needed to know.

He also stayed up all night with the Radio Polynesian team to give live broadcast information for those who don’t have access to social media.

The Samoa Met Office’s attempts to inform the public only left much confusion and led to Seti branding Amos in his 7am (Sunday) update as a ‘Phantom Storm’.

“I have to say, Cyclone Amos has turned out to be a Phantom Storm, in part created by the misinformation and wrong forecasts given out in official weather bulletins over the last 24 hrs,” he said in one of his update posts.

“The last bulletin six hours ago still had the cyclone to hit Samoa this afternoon. This was despite satellite mapping showing the system already moving away from Savaii and then Upolu. “The insistence on a six to 18 hours timeframe for Cyclone Amos was incorrect, right from the start.

“Our Met office in Apia was following the wrong model predictions out of the U.S, For us in studio, I went with the usual satellite source that I have always used and has never let me down. “It didn't in this Cyclone either - I could tell exactly when rain was falling, include wind factors and so on; Cyclone Amos has gone away. It left us last night at 1am. With easy to understand information and satellite imagery, Seti’s posts could easily be seen as ‘life saving’ as in times of disaster.

Information is everyone’s best friend. Seti managed to get updated reports even from Savai’i.

“UPDATE from Fagamalo Savaii, bridge at Saleia / temporary road is washed away; you cannot get to Manase / Tanu Beach from Fagamalo and vice versa.” Seti said in his 1:30am update.

Everyone was very appreciative of Seti’s efforts with many words of thanks being posted on his Facebook page. “Whenever there's a natural disaster in Samoa, I always look up Seti Afoa’s name,” Tusa Leilani Pelenatete said.

“I can always count on this man to bring the most accurate news update, if not updating then he is out there capturing the moments by camera; thanks Seti.”

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