Habitat for Humanity New Zealand and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (A.D.R.A.) Samoa are working to help families affected by Cyclone Gita this year.
International Programme Manager of A.D.R.A. New Zealand, Sahara Anae, said the project started in March and should be completed by September.
The assistance, extended to a number of families featured on the Samoa Observer’s Village Voice section, looks at three components.
“The first one is we look at the Agricultural Kits Distribution,” she said. “Now these are some agricultural seedlings, taros, bananas, and cabbages just domestic vegetables as well including spades, hoes and rakes the tools that the families can use to plan these things.”
“This really focuses on the health nutrition within the families that we are distributing to.”
“Now there are a total of 410 families and 300 of those families are in Upolu and 110 are in Savaii.”
“And this really goes out to the communities and the families who were affected by Cyclone Gita and are finding it very hard to get back on their feet.”
“So this is just a boost of motivation for them and assistance to help them out with these things.”
“And that’s the first component of it the agricultural kits distribution.”
The second aspect is called the “Build Back Safely.”
“This is in partnership also with Habitat Humanity in New Zealand,” said Ms. Anae.
“This looks at 40 homes to repair that were damaged by Gita and needs to undergo repair into these homes.”
“At the same time the repairs are taking place, they are also training the men of these households just on basic training stuff like the strapping of the roof tops, the strapping of the timbers and the ceiling and all that kind of stuff so that when there’s another cyclone coming they are more confident to know what to do, to make sure the roof doesn’t blow off during the cyclone.”
“And the final component of it it’s called the Community Disaster & Climate Risks Management Program (C.D.C.R.M.) and that’s with the climate change and disaster training. Now this training will be carried out in three communities.”
“Will be focusing on Matatufu, Utulaelae and Sapo’e these are the three selected communities in which this training will be carried out.”
“And the training really looks at preparing the communities on how to evacuate, how to prepare for disaster, what to do before, during and after a disaster.”
Ms. Anane reiterated that the whole project is looking at building the resilience within the people as well as build their confidence.
“When something happens they don’t have to keep sitting there and wait for Disaster Management Office to come and help but rather they can help themselves first while they wait for the assistant from the government comes to them,” she said.
“That’s really what this is all about.”
“The total cost of the programme is about $400,000 and the intention really while we are implementing this we are also looking around at what these communities, villages and people need in terms of assistance.”
“And we found quite a few things that could potentially make this a longer term project.”
Asked whether the families they are helping have a part to play she said in terms of training they do and that is all.
“We don’t expect them to feed us, or give us money or do anything for us,” she said. “The only thing that we try and motivate them to do with us is to stay with us during the work so that we can transfer some knowledge and some of this capacity building to them.”
“And it’s really to build their confidence and their own capacity so that they go running around asking other people to help them or hire workers that they can’t afford so that really is the resilience part of the project that we are trying to build within these people.”
Asked, how they were able to identify these families Ms. Anae said through the Disaster Management Office but most especially through the Samoa Observer programme “Village Voice.”
“We have a selection criteria in which we work with,” she said. “This selection criteria incorporates the criteria in which the government uses also to assist families in needs.”
“This incorporated also from Disaster Management Office and we share a lot these with them.”
“Another forum that we are now using to find families because that’s the hardest thing is finding out who some of these families are, especially the families that go under the radar.”
“And these are the families in the Samoa Observer programme the Village Voice.”
“We found out from the Village Voice, there are a lot of communities out there that even the D.M.O. haven’t reached but somehow the newspaper got to them.”
“So the village voice is now another forum that we use to identify these families and then we go out there and do assessment.”
“And I want to commend the Samoa Observer for the initiative that we were able to find these families so keep it up.”