Family of nine in desperate need of a new home

A father of two at Sataoa on the south coast of Upolu is a man with a lot on his mind.

Nothing has been the same since February last year when Tropical Cyclone Gita hit and wreaked havoc in Samoa.

Fourty-seven-year-old Laifai Vaeono told the Samoa Observer that their family home was destroyed during the cyclone and it has been sleepless nights ever since.

And while they were able to build a small Samoan fale after the cyclone, nothing has been the same and he still worries for his family, and whether their home can withstand the strong winds.

“Our home is not in a good and stable condition. The floor is made up of a bed of rocks and the house is supported with trunks of Poumuli (Flueggea flexuosa) and the roof is covered with coconut leaves," he said.

Laifai has been living with his wife, children and grandchildren on his wife’s land for seven years. Therefore, whenever there’s a cyclone warning issued by the authorities, he fears for his family’s safety.  

“And then there are times of heavy rainfall where either rain water can still get inside the house or causes a pool of water outside and thus lead to floods, which would leave us with nowhere to sleep."

And he knows that without money to build a new house, there is nothing much he can do to make his family comfortable and to keep them safe from the bad weather

“As a parent and a father, I feel hopeless at times, because I am limited to my surroundings. We do not have our own electricity, instead we receive electricity from our neighbour to get some power, and we pitch in for cash power.”

Thankfully, the family has access to water, through the village's water supply scheme. But clean drinking water can be hard to come by sometimes. 

“We are very fortunate to receive water free of charge, but mind you it has its disadvantages, like during heavy rainfall the water we receive is dirty and unsafe to drink.

“I am also ashamed to admit but apparently we do not have our own toilet, instead we use our neighbour’s and that is also a great need our family seeks assistance for.”

Laifai’s son-in-law has a job and is the only breadwinner in the family, but even his salary cannot cater for all their needs. 

“We usually allocate it (salary) for food, church, village and family commitments but at the end of the day we always come back to our plantation. 

“Our family depends greatly on our own local produce to sustain us throughout the week. It is not about the food we eat it’s about the safety and security of my family living in a better home,” he said.

If you are willing to help Mr. Vailolo’s family, please contact the number 7729513.

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