A family's plight

A family at Magiagi, who claims their lives are placed at risk when the Vaisgano river floods, is appealing to the Government for help.

The family of Uele and Sagauga Meroma Lavea spoke to the Samoa Observer in a bid to attract attention to their plight, claiming they have been waiting for years to get help.

Uele and his 65-year-old wife live with their children and grandchildren next to the Vaisigano river. They are among families whose lives are placed at risk every time the river floods.  

The 72-year-old recalled the devastation they encountered during the flooding as a result of Cyclone Evan.

“We were the victims,” he said.

 “All our properties were washed away by the river, including a big part of our houses.”

One of the biggest concerns is the road to their home. They say the road is critical because when it floods, at least a proper road allows them a quicker escape path to safety.

 “Whenever it rains heavily, we are always thinking of evacuating up to the hills for safety,” he said.

“That’s why we have been requesting the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) for assistance to renew our road.

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“We want to be able to escape easily when the river bursts and overflows. We think fixing the road is extremely critical and that’s why we are asking the government for help.”

Attempts to get a comment from L.T.A. have not been successful. 

Uele’s daughter, Milo Kitiona, who lives next door, said her husband, Kitiona Eliapo, has been trying to get some help from the Government.

“After the cyclone and the flooding, we feel that we should’ve been assisted then with these things,” she said.

“But we are still waiting. All we are asking for is a better road, that’s it. 

“We don’t really need them to build us a new house or what but we just need a good road not just for our family but also for other families down here who live next to the river.”

Asked if they had considered relocating to a safer place, the family revealed another problem.

Mrs. Uele explained the Electoral Power Corporation (E.P.C) had used up their land for their underground pipes. He claimed they are still waiting for compensation.

 “Almost three acres of our land has been used by the E.P.C for their pipes and our family chief is still arguing with them for compensation.”

She said they also asked them that instead of monetary compensation, if they could provide a piece of land for them elsewhere to relocate to.

She said they still have not heard from them. Attempts have been made to get a comment from the E.P.C.

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