Village Mayor challenges Govt. to walk the talk

The Village Mayor of Saipipi Savai'i has challenged the Government to walk the talk when it comes to their catchphrase of "what's good for Upolu is also good for Savai'i."

During an interview with the Samoa Observer, Gautusa Filemoni, appealed to the Government to build "good quality cemented seawalls" on the big island.

“Aside from the big buildings we have in Apia, one thing that catches the eye when we travel around town are the nice seawalls in town,” he said. 

“But we don’t have that here in Savai'i. We’ve been hearing the saying 'What’s good for Upolu is also good for Savai’i', so many times and I think it would be nice to see this in action.

“In Apia we see good quality cemented seawalls that are very attractive but also very useful to fight against the waves. Not only that, but you see people enjoying and having great time on the seawalls and it would be nice to have such seawalls in Savai’i too.”

Gautusa said the villages along the coastal areas in Savai’i are vulnerable to the impact of climate change. 

“Our village is one of those vulnerable villages when it comes to natural disasters, especially in terms of flooding and during the rainy seasons. When it comes to the wet season or when we have any natural disaster, the livelihoods of our people are always in great danger. So as their crops and farming.

"Our roads have been disconnected as a result and have been fixed so many times before because of the location of the village. As you can see it is close to the sea. So the high waves always hit us strong during natural hazards and other climatic occurrences. 

"Not only that, but some waters are flown from the land from streams and rivers and it reaches the land where people live and can really affect the lives of people," he added. 

Gautusa also asked the Government for more assistance in setting up access roads and evacuation routes for the village to use in times of natural disasters.

"We would love to see more action towards solving such problems so that in case of any natural hazards. I'm thrilled that we are having so many workshops on educating our people about the effects of their actions on the environment, but it would be nice to also see all the plans implemented in the villages.

"That way, we will be able to lessen the problems faced by the village living in the coastal area of Savaii from the damages and dangers of climate change."

On the other hand, Gautusa praised the Government for its effort in educating the communities and working towards mitigating the effects of climate change.

He said he is also grateful to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) for their initiative to stop land and sand degradation in Samoa.

"We fully support this idea to save our coastal lands," said Gautusa.

"For our village, we forbid people from the other villages to dig and mine the sand from Saipipi. Only the people of Saipipi can use the sand for their small developments.

"We see that as a way to stop people and companies from overusing our natural resources."

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