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The body of a man described by his wife and fellow villagers as a “hero” has been found, taking the official death toll from Tropical Cyclone Evan to five.

Tanu Tanu, of Poutasi Falealili and Magiagi was swept away by flash floods as he was trying to rescue a woman who nearly drowned at Magiagi last Thursday.

Mr. Tanu, 34, had managed to get the woman to safety on the riverbank when he was swept away by the surging current.

His body was washed ashore at Vaiala on Monday evening.

But Mr. Tanu might not be the last casualty.

Yesterday, the search for 10 men who went missing during Cyclone Evan while fishing was called off. Maritime New Zealand said three days of searching involving a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion and a French Marine Nationale Guardian aircraft covered around 5,000 square kilometres but failed to find any sign of the men.

If the men are dead, as presumed, Evan has claimed 15 lives in Samoa.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue Coordinator Neville Blakemore said the search could be reactivated if new information came to hand.

"We are confident that the area has been thoroughly covered in difficult circumstances," he said. "This is obviously a tragic outcome for the families of the men involved and our thoughts are with them."

Assistant Police Commissioner, Le’aupepe Fatu Pula said they would make a determination today on whether to continue to search.

“We are suspending the search for now and we will know by tomorrow (today) if we would go out there,” he said.

Le’aupepe said the search has been thorough and they remain optimistic.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tanu’s wife, Pauta Tanu, is devastated by the loss of her husband. The 34-year-old was working as a Security Guard at Liquor Planet.

Mr. Tanu leaves behind four children and a pregnant wife.

“Right now, there is no hope left for me and my family,” said Mrs. Tanu.

“Tanu was the bread winner of our family and everyone in the family looks up to him as he is the only one working.”

As she was being interviewed, Mrs. Tanu cried as she held her husband’s ID card; which was the only photo of him she had.

Mrs. Tanu said her husband was swept away as he was helping the Police evacuate people to safety when flash floods devastated Magiagi, Lelata, Fa’atoia and several other villages.

“The alert bell in our village was sounded for the untitled men to go out to the affected areas to help Police rescue people and my husband was one of those that went along,” she said. “I understand that they were on their way back when a young boy called out for help because his grandmother was still on the other side of the river.

“My husband wanted to help and he went back for the old lady who he got to safety before he was swept away.”

Fellow villager, Ioelu Ataga said Mr. Tanu was a “hero.”

“We were trying to save one of the ladies down at Lelata when the water overflowed,” he said. “Tanu lost his grip and he fell off a log we were standing on. One of the police officers got hold of Tanu’s shirt but it was too late.”

For Mrs. Tanu, her husband’s death is not her only loss. Her family also lost a lot of properties during the cyclone.

“Our children are aged 10, 8, 7 and two-years old,” she said. “Three are in school while the youngest has yet to be sent to school. Now I have to find a way to bring them up on my own.”

Mrs. Tanu is pleading with anyone who can provide them with some assistance. She can be contacted on +685 773-3324 or +685 775-9747.

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Comments 

 
+2 #6 2012-12-22 23:45
Ia faamaise atu le Atua ia te oe le uso Pauta masi au fanau pele ona ua amia le Tama ole aiga ia Tanu ele Atua ona ole faalavelave faalenatura o matagi ma afa ole olaga nei o loo tatou aumau ai. My condolences to your family. May you Rest. In Peace in Gods Care Tanu.
I have your phone numbers, I will call you soon. Alofa'aga o Lulu'u Ioane-Berns from Australia (originally from Poutasi)
 
 
+9 #5 2012-12-19 00:07
Dear Mrs. Tana,
Your husband was a true hero and you will always remember that and convey that to your children. I am so sad to hear your story and to know how hard life must be for you at this moment. As I'm not in Samoa, I have instructed the caretaker of my home in Aleisa to locate you tomorrow and bring to you a small gift of $500 to help you and your beautiful children a bit in this very, very difficult time in Samoa. May God be with you and your family during your suffering. With love and a big hug from....Tupa'i Bruno and all the crew of the Magic Circus of Samoa.
 
 
+3 #4 2012-12-18 17:41
Dear Mrs. Tana,

Your husband was a true hero and you will always remember that and convey that to your children. I am so sad to hear your story and to know how hard life must be for you at this moment. As I'm not in Samoa, I have instructed the caretaker of my home in Aleisa to locate you tomorrow and bring to you a small gift of $500 to help you and your beautiful children a little bit in this very, very difficult time in Samoa. May God be with you and your family during your suffering. With love and a big hug from....Tupa'i Bruno and all the crew of the Magic Circus of Samoa.
 
 
+2 #3 2012-12-18 16:05
god has him in safe hands,and pray always for help. you are always been watched from heaven.(he looks like my dad). it is so sad to lose a loved one.ia e manatua e alofa le atua ia te oe ma e lei aveese ina le alofa ma oe.manuia le atua ia oe ma lou aiga.
oute alofa tele ia tagata uma ua e agi le afa
 
 
+6 #2 2012-12-18 14:48
May God be with you Mrs. Tanu and your children at this time, Know that Tanu is now in our father hands and he is watching down on you and your children. Be strong and time will heal much love out for you and your children. God Bless xx
 
 
+6 #1 2012-12-18 13:52
A special place in heavan for Tanu for sure. Tomorrow never comes.
 

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