Repairs for inundated Vaipuna road

Residents and businesses of Vaipuna living adjacent to what they say is a narrow, water-logged road on the Matautu strip can soon expect relief, the Minister of Works has confirmed. 

During the recent deluge of bad weather, residents have lamented the road's flooding and expressed concerns about their homes becoming flooded. 

The issue was raised in Parliament on Wednesday by the Member of Parliament for the Vaimauga Sisifo constituency, Lenatai Victor Tamapua, who requested that a portion of the Green Climate Fund (G.C.F.) be redirected to villages in his district facing daily impacts of climate change. 

"The road right in front of the Vaipuna E.F.K.S. going to Vaiala, from the four corners in Matautu, the water just sits there all the time. It does not matter how much rain falls, the water stays," the M.P. said.

"Two cars on opposite sides of the road cannot go at the same time, only one can go through at once."

Lenata'i said since the closure of sections of the road leading up to the Vaisigano bridge, businesses and residents in Matautu have been limited to a one-way road when entering and exiting through Vaipuna.

"This is the only road used to get to the Customs Office, the Apia Wharf, and other businesses on that road; it is also the road that will be used by large heavy vehicles because the road section near Vaisigano is closed," he said.

"So please, Minister, can you please allocate a bit of [G.C.F.] for this section of the road at the moment?

"There are also so many potholes in that same section of road which you cannot see because of the water, but there were cars on Monday that were affected by the many potholes in the water.

"This is a request that has been made for years, so please consider funding for this section of the road, because if we put it in another way, it has become a main road."

Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure, Papali'i Niko Lee Hang, said he had met the M.P. Lenata'i to discuss the flooding and agreed the road has been in poor condition for some time. 

"I have just been notified by the [Land and Transport Authority] chief, this section of the road will be upgraded under the G.C.F. programme," he said.

"The Deputy Prime Minister [Fiame Naomi Mata'afa] will later re-confirm the matter as the Climate Change Fund is under her Ministry."

The news has been welcomed by Vaipuna resident Leo Leola, whose house is next to the main road and says it has been a source of problems for years. 

The G.C.F. Project has been established for six years with external funding of US$57,717,748 ($146,417,543) from the G.C.F. Trust with co-financing from the Government to the tune of US$8 million ($20,296,340).  

Last year, Norway's Crown Prince, Haakon Magnus, announced that Norway will increase its contributions to the Green Climate Fund to US$100,000,000 (WST$2,600,000) per year, which the Ambassador of Norway to Samoa, Paul Gulleik Larsen reinforced on Wednesday.

The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with Government partners overseeing different aspects of the project. They include the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment; the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure; the Land Transport Authority; the Ministry of Health; the Samoa Water Authority; and the Electric Power Corporation.

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