Tafaigata residents happy to be connected to water
Contrary to reports stating that former Sogi residents in Tafaigata have no access to water, the residents in the newly habited area are praising the Samoa Water Authority for promptly connecting them.
And, despite not being connected to electricity yet, the residents are adamant that water is what's more important and they are grateful.
Earlier this year the Government put into action their plans to have families vacate Sogi , where a new proposed market is to be built, and move into lands which had been provided for them in Tafaigata.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the family of Sa Talaimanu said the reports stating that water has not yet reached families in their area were misplaced.
"We were shocked when we heard on the radio about that, but the fact is most of us are connected to water already," he said.
"The pipelines had been laid already, it is just a matter of requesting for connection services. Families who have yet to have water flowing through their taps is not the Government's fault but their own."
The same feelings were echoed by another family.
Rachel Iakopo, whose home is the second on the left from the main road, said they had been connected to safe and clean drinking water already.
"I know for a fact that families near us including our house already have been connected to the water supply and it has been a while. The S.W.A. have been here often, connecting water to each household, but the main pipeline to our area has long been completed," she said.
Mrs. Iakopo also noted that moving to Tafaigata was definitely the right choice given the condition of the land, the cool and fresh air, as well as assurance that they will no longer be affected by floods every time it rains.
"I thank God for this place, we have started to settle, our house is almost fully complete and our water is connected. If we weren't it would have been very hard on us; so we thank the Government and its agencies,” she said.
Mother of two, Laisene Solomona's family is among the very few who are yet to be connected to the main pipeline. She said that they are yet to be connected due to paperwork processes.
The Samoa Observer understands that the Samoa Land Corporation is covering the cost of electricity and water connection fees for the families.
Electricity is also yet to be connected to the families as they have submitted a formal collective request to the Electric Power Corporation. Roads have also being constructed.
The six acres of land behind the Fiafia Samoa Park, which was once a forest, is now filled with houses and cheers of children of the families who lived in the swampy lands of Sogi.
In 2011, the Government asked about 30 families who lived on Corporation-owned land in Sogi to leave the area, due to their vulnerability to sea level rising. They were given the option to relocate to a quarter acre land at Tafaigata, which they could lease to own for $30,000.
The land previously occupied by these families will be used for the relocated Savalalo market.