Help for families hit by measles

More than 25 families in Upolu will receive assistance in the form of food supplies and clothing donated by Catholic parishes across Samoa this week, through Caritas Samoa. 

The assistance is being coordinated for families living in villages such as Samatau, Siufaga, and Saleimoa which have been selected for the aid; individual family recipients are still being finalised.

A mother-of-five from Manono-uta she was grateful for the support because she and other members of her family were still recovering from the infection.

Ula Toma told the Samoa Observer that her children are all at the hospital.

“Words fail to describe how thankful I am, we are struggling but the assistance given will be used for our family’s needs,” she said.

“We pray that God blesses the hearts of those that supported the initiative. My husband tries his best and works hard in fending for our family’s needs.

“It came a surprise that we received these supplies but it was a more of a blessing, we give back the glory to God for everything he has done.”

According to the Programme Coordinator of Caritas Samoa, Karen Anaya, organising the assistance for vulnerable families started last Monday.

She said that the assistance came from 40 Catholic parishes from Upolu and Savaii which donated food, soaps, clothing and money. Ms. Anaya said that the aim was to not only help families affected by measles but also other vulnerable families in need.

Caritas Samoa says it works in partnership with the National Emergency Operation Center (N.E.O.C.) when required.

The N.E.O.C. assessed the supplies Caritas received relative to what was needed by hospitals and families recovering outside of clinics. 

Ms. Anaya added the assistance will focus on villages within the Vaimauga West and Faleata West constituencies, with the list of families who will receive the support to come through the Catholic Church's priests or catechists.

She said the initiative started when Caritas realised how fast the measles virus spreads and the urgency of need.

“We are very grateful that there are so many kind hearts in Samoa who have donated money, food supplies, toilet papers, soaps, clothes. We will do our best to get this relief to where it is most needed," she said.

Caritas Samoa also delivered food supplies to the Motootua hospital and fruits and vegetables, which were inspected by officials from N.E.O.C. and representatives of the Ministry of Health. 

Caritas Samoa was founded in February 2008 and became a fully-fledged member of Caritas Internationalis in 2011. The collection of Pacific islands which form Samoa has a population under 200,000.

Caritas Samoa works in close partnership with Caritas agencies, international relief organisations, as well as the Samoan government’s National Disaster Management Office to provide assistance and training where needed.

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