Villagers fix road after request to Govt. turned down

With the Government’s funding priorities shifting to the 2019 Pacific Games, Alafua village residents have taken it upon themselves to fix their impassable road and restore access.

The residents decided to take action three weeks ago with families giving bags of cement, barbed wire and even hard cash to fund the project. After close to three weeks of work on the road next to the University of the South Pacific’s Alafua Campus, the residents completed the project yesterday and restored the road access.

Alafua village resident, Rev. Deacon Faaletonu Une from Vaimoso who was at the project site yesterday, told Samoa Observer that residents spearheaded the project, though they sought assistance from the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang and the Land Transport Authority Chief Executive Officer, but were advised that the Government’s funding priority has moved to next year’s Pacific Games.

“We are truly thankful that this work has been done because in all honesty it was not easy. The funds for this work are from over 30 families within Alafua."

“There were some that gave five bags of cement and others more than five, others gave barbed wires, and also donated cash."

“But before that we requested help from the government through the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang and we were told that the priority has been allocated towards the 2019 Pacific Games,” he said.

Comment is being sought from the Minister and the Land Transport Authority C.E.O.

Rev. Faaletonu said while they were disappointed with the response, but after a meeting between all the residents, they decided to unite and personally fund the project. 

“It was through all our villagers uniting as one through a common understanding, decision making and support that has contributed to a beautiful outcome, which will benefit us all.

“When the road becomes disconnected, we are not able to travel across it. There were over 10 occurrences of the bridge being damaged from flooding.

“This road has had tragic incidents of residents being swept away from the flooding, and one of our members had lost his daughter to this flooding, which her body has never been recovered to this very day,” he added. 

The road has over the years been damaged by flooding from two different rivers, one from Seesee which passes through Papaseea, and the other from Moamoa, which intersects at the road in question and flows to Vaimoso. 

“Once it floods, the impacts are immense and thus affect us badly. But then we put the past behind us and celebrate a great achievement which will make it easier for residents to access and travel freely without any struggles,” he added. 

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By Hyunsook Siutaia 30/09/2020
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