Villagers in disaster training

The death and destruction caused by the 2009 tsunami is compelling a group of villages to embrace disaster management training.

The villages of Salelesi, Eva and Fusi located on the north coast of Upolu yesterday participated in a disaster management training program, where they were given awareness on natural disasters and trained on how to prepare themselves in the event of a natural disaster. 

The two to three-hour training and simulation for disaster management was run by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (A.D.R.A.).

Salelesi mayor, Asa Michaael Leausa, said his village were serious with the training yesterday as they have not forgotten the death and destruction triggered by the 2009 tsunami.

“Ever since the tsunami, we feel serious about this rehearsal and we find it so useful since natural disaster’s season is almost here because it’s always the end of the year when we get to experience these trials,” he said.

The A.D.R.A has been rolling out and implementing the awareness program since 2012 with the assistance of partner agencies Disaster Management Organization, Fire and Emergency Services Authority, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Police and non-governmental organisations Faataua le Ola, Nuanua o le Alofa and Samoa Family Health Association.

A.D.R.A project manager, Tuioti Autagavaia Sakaria Taituavae said the project is a good test to raise awareness. 

“The purpose of this exercise is to prepare the villages for unforeseen disasters and to test the evacuation and response plans of the individuals, if they understand their roles and responsibilities in times of natural disasters,” he told Samoa Observer. 

Mr. Taituavae said the training program has four components and include surveys, education and awareness of the villagers’ roles. 

“First, we run the surveys to divide the people in different areas of the project, second we educate and promote on what they need to know, third is choosing committees and educate them of their roles in the simulation and finishing the program with a practice which is the most important part of the whole project,” he said.

Mr. Leausa said this is the best of help they could get in times of natural disasters.

The A.D.R.A. project will go a long in enabling the villagers to know how to respond during times of natural disasters, according to Mr. Leausa. 

“It feels inspiring and boosts confidence and to rescue a life that might need help,” he added. 

The village of Salelesi is yet to be directly hit by a tsunami but Mr. Leausa said it is always good to be prepared and alert.

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