Residents still counting flooding cost

By Talaia Mika 22 December 2020, 12:00AM

Lelata residents are still counting the cost of last Friday’s flash floods which left them with thousands of tala worth of damage properties and personal effects.

The residents were among those who were evacuated, as continuous rain throughout last week led to the Apia town area being inundated with flash floods last Friday, when river banks burst leading to businesses and private homes getting flooded.

In separate interviews with the Samoa Observer, Lelata residents said getting their lives back to normal after the natural disaster will be a costly exercise and won’t be easy. 

One resident Laloataata Asuelu Saifoloi said the flood damaged their properties and the cost is thousands of tala.

“It’s the same issue as always, same complaints but no response or better results from the consultations, our homes have been hit again,” he told the Samoa Observer.

According to Laloataata, many of the residents who were evacuated had returned, though an elderly person chose to stay at her children’s home.

More than 10 families who reside within the vicinity of Lelata felt the brunt of last Friday’s flooding.

Another resident Rudy Bartley, who was made homeless due to flooding brought on by the 2012 Tropical Cyclone Evans, said they had just settled two years ago in their new home before the flooding last Friday. 

“We were homeless from 2012, we just moved to our new home and this is our second year back,” he said. 

“We built the house two years ago and this is our second Christmas back and so for six years we’ve been renting all over the place including Motootua and then two years ago, we decided we had to build.

“We built houses that are much smaller and higher and the original plan was actually for the foundation of the house to be lower but I asked the builder, I want the floor to be higher so instead of the stomach, now it’s the shoulder (of a person) the height of the foundation so I think that’s why our house was safe.”

And a $10,000 tala investment in a new fence around the property also went to waste when the flood also destroyed it.

Mr. Bartley said this is the fourth time his fence was overwhelmed and destroyed by flooding and he is already looking at a $50,000 repair bill, which includes $10,000 for a new fence.

“$10,000 mind you it’s not just the fence (that’s damaged) we also have to get the machines to remove the heavy objects and rubbish around the place and fence from the flood.”

His mother, who resided with him, also helped with the cleaning and lamented how the flood last Friday had taken away their Christmas spirits this year.

The Lelata and Magiagi residents said they are yet to hear from the Government on a seawall that they were promised as well as damages that they personally sustained from the flooding.

Those who were made homeless by the natural disaster last Friday have been accommodated at the Tuanaimato Gym 2.

A Vaimea resident, Finauga Seiuli, also told this newspaper they are still trying to come to terms with the damage that they suffered at the hands of the flood. 

“Our properties were swept away at Vaimea as well and we don’t know how much it’s going to cost us but surely it’s going to be expensive,” he said.

Comment has been sought from the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) as well as the N.E.O.C. interim Chair Agafili Shem Leo. 

By Talaia Mika 22 December 2020, 12:00AM

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