Landslide drama

The biggest landslide recorded by the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) at Tuialamu, Lalomanu, will take more than a week to clear. 

It means motorists heading from Apia to the Lalomanu Beach and vice versa will have to choose one way or another to reach their destination and return.

 “We started clearing it on Monday,” the Chief Executive Officer of the L.T.A., Ta’atialeoitiiti Agnes Tutuvanu-Schwalger told the Samoa Observer.

The massive landslide, triggered by Cyclone Gita’s heavy downpours, occurred on Monday afternoon. 

“It is quite a challenge for us at this point because of the massive rocks that are encountered by the bulldozer. And safety is paramount in our line of work,” she said. 

“We are cautious for the safety of staff, contractors and safety of motorists on this road and we are trying to clear to assure access of vehicles as soon as possible,” said the C.E.O. 

She says they are taking it one step at a time in clearing the landslide to avoid loose rocks at the top of the mountain from falling, triggering another land collapse. 

Tautalaiali’i Taufua, on behalf of the Taufua family that owns this specific area where the landslide occurred, apologises to the public for the inconvenience. 

“However that is the priority of the L.T.A. is to clear the roads,” said Tautalaiali’i. 

The specific land is owned by the Taufua family, she said. 

According to Tautalaiali’i, the site of the landslide is where contractors dug up the dirt for road works and road repair. 

“So I think that is what caused the land slide.” 

Asked as to what their family is doing to assure that this does not repeat, Tautalaiali’i said their family was looking into it. 

“My eldest brother, who is the Chief of our family, will be back next two weeks and he will be the one who makes all the decisions on specific issues in my family including the landslide.

“So far the L.T.A. has not consulted us as to what they would be doing in terms of clearing the road, given that it is such an inconvenience,” she said. 

“It is quite a massive landslide and I’m sure it will take up to six months to clear.

“I’m not sure if they know that specific part belongs to my family,” she said. 

She pointed out that L.T.A. should consult them first before acting on anything pertaining to clearing the landslide. 

According to Tautalali’i, the L.T.A. should just clear the road whether their machines will scoop it to the ocean side or the other side, but they cannot remove the rocks or anything from the land slide. 

She says her family will consider barring up this specific side so this does not repeat.

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