New AUD$4.5 million radio tower built to withstand disasters

A new transmission tower for the Samoan Government national broadcaster, 2AP, was unveiled at Mulinu'u Peninsula on Thursday. 

It was built to withstand a Category 5 cyclone and ensure communications in case of a natural disasters in a AUD$4.5 million project funded by the Australian government. 

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi delivered a keynote speech to mark its launch. 

"[The project] will further enable the government in providing full and timely broadcasting coverage now and in years to come for all of Samoa and its neighbouring islands, especially in times of natural disasters," he said. 

"When all the other communication services will be disrupted, due to a break down in infrastructure with only 2AP through with the AM amenities are continuing with its services."

"The new transmission mast which replaces the old mast that has been in use since 1991. That’s immediately after cyclone Ofa which destroyed the mast we had up to that time."

The new tower was implemented by ABC International Development and information and communication technology specialist firm Kordia, and completed within one year. 

In upgrading the site for the tower, project managers took into consideration rising sea levels and the need to withstand natural disasters. Also taken into account is the surrounding eco-system, especially marine species and mangroves.

Tuilaepa extended his gratitude towards the Australian government for their assistance in Samoa's climate resilient program for small island states in the Pacific Region.

The project drew on the expertise of local Samoan businesses and has injected more than $3million tala into the local economy for local contractors, accommodation, provision of support and services and in Samoan taxes, the Samoa Government said. 

The Australian High Commissioner, Sara Moriarty, said the Australian government had delivered on a commitment to ensure that Samoa has access to reliable information and communication services during times of disasters.

"During natural disasters it’s vital that we stay connected with loved ones that we can be assured of their safety and that they’re okay," she said. 

"It’s also important that we stay informed on weather updates and news in this way we can be informed of what to do to prepare in case of disaster, how long it might last and when it’s safe to venture out and assess the damage.

"Connectivity and communication is absolutely crucial in keeping communities strong and to ensuring that communities are resilient."

The opening ceremony was followed by an open day for students of schools who took tours around the premises and into the new facilities.

A 17-year-old Leififi student, Fotuivasa Tanuvasa from Ma'agao said she was thankful for being able to attend the event, which stoked her interest in technology. 

"It helps us understand the history of the 2AP radio, we didn’t know there was a history behind this thing more than 25 years ago," she said. "I’m aiming to be in the Information technology world and so I’m thankful to be here."

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