Samoa considers best way to help Australia

The Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, has confirmed plans by the Government to help Australia as the country continues to fight bushfires that have already claimed 25 lives.

Responding to questions from the Samoa Observer, Sili said Cabinet will meet this week to discuss the best way for Samoa to help.

“Whenever there is a natural disaster in other countries, or are facing climate change, infernos or even diseases we offer that assistance to the affected country,” he said. 

“When Cabinet does meet for discussion whatever that assistance will be whether it is small or big – Australia is one of our developing partners that has offered help to Samoa in many difficult situations we faced.”

The Minister added that there are also many more Samoans living and working in Australia such as seasonal workers being recruited in the country to work in farms and meat processing companies. 

The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Labour, Lautafi Selafi Purcell, confirmed there are no Samoan seasonal workers being affected by the bushfires in Australia. 

He said the Ministry is keeping in contact with their office representative in Australia on any developments or tragedies that may occur. 

An emergency team from Australia was the first medical responder from overseas that landed in Samoa to assist with the measles epidemic. 

While the country was fighting massive blazes in November, Australia continued to send in personnel to assist the local doctors to improve the flow of patients in and out of treatment. 

Many countries have committed to help Australia with a state of emergency being declared in New South Wales at the end of December. 

New Zealand responded quickly to the disaster, sending 157 firefighters and personnel to the country as early as October.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on January 3 that the country would send 22 more firefighters and three helicopters to help out.

Also the United States sent 100 American firefighters in early December, 44 forest service and wildfire personnel on December 30 and another 21 in January. 

Canadian firefighters also joined the effort with leaders recalling the help Australia provided when wildfires spread in Canada.

Papua New Guinea on the other hand announced it would send 1,000 soldiers and firefighters if the Australian Prime Minister requested. 

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