At least two people are dead – with the possibility of more casualties – as Samoa prepares for the second night of Tropical Cyclone Evan.
On Thursday, Cyclone Evan arrived with little warning and devastated the country throughout the day and night.
Yesterday morning, Samoa awoke to the shocking sight of destruction and devastation. Countless houses on Upolu were flattened by winds of up to 70miles per hour.
Worst hit was the south of Upolu at Lefaga, Safata, Siumu, Falealili and Aleipata.
In Apia, thousands were evacuated as flash flooding took its toll. Cars were washed away at Matautu as the water made its way from the Vaisigano river through Matautu, Apia Park and all the way to Moata’a.
Nearby Lelata was severely hit by flooding where many homes were destroyed, leaving cars strung up on trees. The Bahai Church in the area was badly damaged.
Up the road at Magiagi, homes were flooded.Many people were left homeless.
Alopule Fuiono, 66, said he has never seen anything like Thursday flooding.
“It’s never been this bad in previous years and so I believe this is the worst disaster to hit our country especially our village,” he said.
“The untitled men were seen pulling people out from roof tops, trying to get the elderly people to higher ground.As the wind was hurtling coconuts, roofing iron were tossed around like pieces for paper.”
Alopule confirmed that a Lauli’i man who was married to a girl from their village died on Wednesday evening while trying to save an elderly woman from the floods.
“He got her to safety but he was swept away and then he perished into the water,” said Alopule.
As of this afternoon,two young people were missing. Alopule said those left homeless were from the lower areas of Magiagi called Uelinitone.
“Many homes were washed away while others were drowned by mud when the water came through,” he said. “There is mud over two feet high in my house where there were once stones and rocks; it is the same with other houses down there.”
Alopule said when people started to evacuate “no one bothered about their belongings, the main concern was saving lives.”
Yesterday, people were seen trying to clear tree trunks and clean out the mud and water that had rushed into homes.
Elsewhere around Upolu, the images are not pretty. Agriculture has taken yet another severe hit with banana patches being flattened and fruits from breadfruits scattered everywhere. Mango fruits which are often a source of joy for returning Samoans are no more.
Evan made sure not one single mango is left on the tree.
Electricity is out for the rest of Upolu. Power poles have been tossed everywhere with power lines strewn all over the road and elsewhere.
The government’s National Disaster Council has been busy helping wherever they are needed.
This afternoon, the Samoa Meteorology Office said that Cyclone Evan is likely to be felt again by 10pm tonight. So Samoa is going into a second night of not knowing what they will wake up to tomorrow morning.