Helping hand in times of need

As the nation deals with the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Gita, the Adventist Disaster Relief Agency (A.D.R.A.) Samoa is putting its best foot forward to help.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Managing Director of A.D.R.A, Su’a Julia Wallwork, said their goal is to help as many people as possible.

“Right now we are doing assessment to see where we can help and to see where the need is,” she said.

“We got teams going out today (yesterday) to all the affected areas to assess the damage, the needs and see whether we have the capacity to respond.”

“At the same time, we will be looking at our own A.D.R.A. network and also our international donors if they can assist us.”

Su’a said the biggest need would be the crops because Tropical Cyclone Gita ruined all plantations.

“I’ve been told that the biggest need will be in crops and livelihoods and to help people get on their feet so that food security can be provided,” she said.

“Cyclone Gita destroyed all the crops there is and I can see the need of crops in the next couple of months.”

“Most of the people, especially farmers suffered from this and we are working on how we can help.”

Su’a highly commended the work of her Projects Manager, Tuioti Autagavaia Taituave and her other staff member Filana, for their commitment shown towards who took shelter with them.

“It was very challenging,” she said.

“As for the A.D.R.A. staff, on Friday night it was just Tuioti Sakaria Taituave and Filana who were here because other staff members could not make it because of the bad weather and no transportation.

“Those two kept it all night and one had to stay up at the center and the other one had to get supplies in the middle of strong wind and heavy rain and they should be commended highly and their commitment to help the people.”

“The other staff members could only make it the next day and when they came they all fell in.”

“We sheltered about 200 people and we fed them from our own resources and then we got some assistance from the Disaster Management Organization and then we had people coming from everywhere asking for food.”

“So it was very challenging, and our team started to go out since yesterday to make rapid assessment and today as well, so we will draft where and how we can help.”

Su’a says they may be called as a response team to Tonga who was heavily struck by Tropical Cyclone Gita on Sunday night.

“We have been trained to respond in times of disaster with first aid, body management, food management and we also have policies in place when such disasters occur.”

A.D.R.A. response and relief teams have been divided into groups to visit Aleisa, Lefaga, Safata and Siumu.

Su’a also commended the assistance of the Fire Emergency Services Authority, D.M.O. and National Emergency Organisation Committee.

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