Vendors lament rain ripping through market

By Soli Wilson 17 January 2020, 8:00PM

Vendors at the Fugalei market say days of rainfall have had a devastating effect on their stalls, long after they first raised concerns about the market's ability to withstand bad weather. 

Vendors have had to put tarpaulins over their goods to to protect them from the heavy rainfall and powerful wind gusts that have struck all of Samoa this week and gushed through the Fugalei market. 

On Thursday morning they were furiously clearing puddles after a third day of heavy rain took an even greater toll on business. 

A 57-year-old long-time Fugalei vendor, Solo Falaniko, said they had raised their concerns with market administrators long before the recent spate of rainy days. 

"It's not something we need to make public because everyone can see it when it rains here," he said.

"We always try to tidy up our blocks properly but the rain and wind will always come through to ruin [the stalls], making everything dirty and wet [...] because of the poor designing of the marketplace."

Falaniko also told of leaks from the market's roof and called upon the Accident Compensation Corporation to investigate. 

Heavy rainfall and gusty winds that are the result of a "live convergence zone" close to the country may persist for another few days, the Samoa Meteorology Office predicts. 

Another vendor from Moamoa, Iuliana Ofisa, echoed sentiments about the poor conditions of the market place and its inability to withstand poor weather. 

The vegetable vendor said the recent damaged had saddened not only her but several others on her block. 

"The rain brings so much water into the marketplace, wetting all of our crops and other people's handicrafts too," she said.

"And after the rain, you'll see puddles all over the cement and dirt.

"They only come around to collect their daily fee for the market blocks where we sell our stuff but no concerns whatsoever for us here."

While the Fugalei market vendors hope for clear skies after three consecutive days of rain, the Samoa Meteorological Service does not forecast such good news. The Met Office has advised that a heavy rain advisory remains in force for all of Samoa.

By Soli Wilson 17 January 2020, 8:00PM

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