After the flood, businesses pick up the pieces

Small businesses and their owners and employees were among the worst affected in the heavy rain and flooding that tore through Apia's business centre last Friday.

By the time the rain had subsided Friday overnight, the business owners and their staff were some of the first ones out early Saturday morning with shovels, water hoses and cleaning material to clear out the debris.

Samoa Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer, Lemauga Hobart Vaai, said their main concern is for businesses cleaning up and recovering from the unprecedented flooding last Friday.

Having encountered heavy rain and flooding in previous natural disasters, Lemauga said everyone knew the issues, and they can only pray for everything to move forward quickly. 

“It’s been a very tough year and it has been for everyone – we are trying to be as optimistic as we can,” he said. “You can try as much as you can to prepare but the flooding was unprecedented. 

“There were some areas that don’t normally get hit that got hit badly and will probably know more about that sometime next week.”

“People are just trying to clean up and get ready and hoping by next week with a big shopping curve we are ready for them,” he said. 

Lemauga said for most of the business community they are trying their best to salvage what they can sell come Monday.

And meeting with Government officials following the flooding last Friday, he said the key is communicating all issues to the Government and vice versa. 

He acknowledged the work of the National Emergency Operations Centre (N.E.O.C.) in issuing notices while emphasising that access to water supply is essential to businesses cleaning up after the flooding.

The Chamber will conduct a survey soon to identify the damages and their impact. 

Most of the businesses that were affected were those on Vaea Street from the HJ Keil intersection in Saleufi to Lotemau building, especially those that were located on the ground floor of the buildings.

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