Flood damage costs to hit "millions"

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 18 December 2020, 11:00PM

The Government has estimated that the total cost of damages to the country’s infrastructure as a result of Friday's flooding will cost "millions."

Although they do not have a final figure yet, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Finance, Leasiosiofa’asisina Oscar Malielegaoi, said a first up estimate is definitely in the millions.

Leasiosio made the comments at the National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C.) headquarter on Friday afternoon.   

According to Leasiosio damages to road infrastructures, bridges and essential service lines were the main assets ruined by heavy flooding which brought the nation to a standstill on Friday.

“We are receiving reports from Apia on damages and we have not conducted the post-disaster assessment but it [damages] can cost up to millions to repair our assets; roads, bridges, and essential needs for the public at the [evacuation] sites,” he said. 

“Our Committee is visiting affected areas in town severely impacted by floods and this reinforces our message to build climate-resilient infrastructure not only our assets but for family homes because of climate change.

"How much, we don't know, there might be more damages tonight and the figure given out today won't be accurate...” 

Leasiosio assured that the Government stands ready to assist a country already under a state of emergency for the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

He said the rebuilding of the damaged infrastructure will come from unforeseen expenditure set aside for emergency circumstances. 

In addition he acknowledged donor partners who continuously provide assistance to Samoa during the COVID-19 pandemic to whom the Government will reach to help with its rebuilding work. 

“In terms of finances, at the beginning of this week we tabled a $42.2 supplementary budget and there are funds that will assist in rebuilding our assets,” he said. 

“Just like the Green Climate Fund project for the Vaisigano project as the country can see the impact of climate change and there are funds in our supplementary budget for this…” 

Some of the main infrastructure damaged on Friday morning included the newly constructed bridge at Moamoa, the Faleolo international airport being inundated with water, and damage to urban and rural access roads. 

Leasiosio said priority would be given to assist families that have had their water or electricity supplies disconnected, or trouble crossing over roads or bridges due to debris and damages. 

 The Meteorology Office forecasted high tide at 10.30 Friday night and the public is advised to relocate to safe areas and away from flood-prone areas. 

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 18 December 2020, 11:00PM

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