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Pandemic impact hits family hard

Life has been a struggle for 32-year-old, Marina Tautalaga, and her family.

The impact of the deadly coronavirus pandemic on Samoa has not helped.

Living in a small house made out of wood and old corrugated iron on the west coast of Upolu, about 30 kilometres from Apia, they have been living without access to water supply for the last few months.

Ms. Tautalaga told the Samoa Observer that due to the financial difficulties that they currently face, they would not afford to pay an outstanding water bill.

The family’s everyday challenges are manifested in the road access to their home, which is through a dirt road that goes further inland, in order to get to the family’s home that is surrounded by a plantation. 

“Water has been our main concern; it is because for months now our water has been disconnected,” Ms. Tautalaga said.

Currently, her husband is the family’s sole breadwinner, through his job at the Faleolo International Airport. But with the onset of the global pandemic and the shutting down of Samoa’s international borders and air travel, his working hours have been reduced to two or three days a week.

“My husband works at the airport but there is so much uncertainty around it. It is because we are well aware that normal operations have ceased due to the lack of flights, but while repatriation flights are still coming in, it still has no guarantee for better days to come,” emphasised Ms. Tautalaga. 

“His salary was sufficient at first but with the global pandemic and economic impacts on our country has affected everyone, he sometimes works two or only three days a week.”

The slashing of her husband’s weekly working hours has translated to less money to pay for essential items including bills and food, which has made life unbearable for her and their children. 

“For our family and like any other, water is life and no one can survive without it. We allocate the money we get on electricity bills, food supplies and necessities needed by our three children for school,” she lamented. “At the moment, we use our neighbour’s water to fetch more than three buckets for food preparations and bathing.”

If you are willing to help Ms. Tautalaga’s family please contact the number 7645470.

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