Like a river, residents tell of flooding nightmare

Residents of Fugalei, Saleufi, Taufusi and other low-lying areas in the Apia Township faced an anxious night on Monday as the heavy rain continued to belt the capital.

Brought on by a trough of low pressure which was accompanied by heavy rain and thunderstorms, some families had to evacuate their homes, fearing the worst.

But it wasn’t just the town area that was affected.

In rural villages, there were instances of landslides affecting travel on the east side of Upolu. A couple of bridges were also damaged by heavy flooding.

As of yesterday afternoon, the Disaster Management Office had issued a warning. 

“Please note that there is a landslide along the Lemafa area. Also, the Ford crossing at Tiavea-tai has overflown and has been closed,” the warning said.

“We urge the public to use alternative routes for travelling. Slow down and remain vigilant as roads are slippery and dangerous at this time.”

For Lina Fo’iloto, of Fugalei, the flooding has become all too common at this time of the year.

“In front of Farmer Joe and the Frankie’s mall, the flooding was like a river,” she said. “It was almost impossible for higher vehicles to cross."

 “I tell you, it was like a river here early this morning. Some people used boats and wooden made things to get around because the water was that deep.”

The one good story from yesterday was that Fugalei market was not flooded. “I’m glad the foundation of the Fugalei market is high,” she said.

“The water did not reach the market but for other businesses in the area, the water was everywhere.”

Ms. Fo’iloto’s main concern was the families residing at Fugalei, next to Tole’afoa’s market.

 “Life is really hard for us when it reaches the rainy season because the floods bring rubbish and the place ends up looking like a rubbish dump. It really annoys us.”

Other residents share the same concerns.

 “Our kitchen got covered with water,” said one of them. “We don’t know how we are going to cook our food.”

For some families in the area, they say they want to rebuild their homes so that the foundation is elevated. However, the land does not belong to them.

Although many of them have been living in the area for many years, the landowners do not allow them to rebuild.

But that’s a long term worry for them. In the meantime, with the Met Office forecasting more rain, these people faced another nervous wait last night.

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