Threat of flooding in town worries families

Two families living in town have expressed concern at the impact of flooding on their homes and are unsure what their future holds if the rain continues.

Heavy rain in recent days has led to flooding in different parts of Apia’s central business district, forcing businesses and residents to reinforce their properties with sandbags, and creating uncertainty on their future prospects should the bad weather continue.

Minute Schuster, who has lived in Fugalei with his family for over a decade, told the Samoa Observer that the flooding of the Vaimose River triggered by heavy rains has always had an impact on their home. 

He said they lost most of their personal effects as well as furniture when Cyclone Gita hit Samoa in 2018 and still remembers the disaster.

“The water came in around 4am in the morning and it was a tragic experience because the whole family were resting and we could've all drowned in our sleep,” he recollected. “The water drains around the area are too small and narrow, considering the strong flows during heavy rain.”

The water drainage system close to their home does not have the capacity to funnel through flood water, said Mr Schuster. 

“The drains should be designed to hold at least 4- 5 feet water levels, it's disappointing how they (Government) are able to cater for other people, but turn a blind eye to our desperate call.”

The Samoa Red Cross and the Ministry of the Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) went to the family’s assistance during the 2018 disaster, added Mr Schuster. Though, not all of their damaged property was recovered.

Pauline Latu, who lives with her family in Taufusi, said whenever there is heavy rain their children are moved to safer ground with relatives.

She said in order to mitigate the impact of the storm, they ensure all electronic equipment is stored away and not damaged by the rising water levels.

Questioned on whether her family has discussed relocating, Mrs Latu said they’ve lived on their land all their life and relocating is a complex issue, unless the Government is offering the family new land and a house.

“Unless the Government offers us a new land and a new house then we will consider leaving this place,” she said. "If they aren't able to provide us with new houses and lands at least fix our drains and spare us clean water when our homes are affected.” 

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