Samoa’s Cyclone Evan death toll at 5; 11 still missing

Photo Credit: 
Faletuiga/Tina Mata'afa-Tufele
Samoa flags fly at the Samoa Tourism Authority Fale Samoa during the country's 50th Anniversary of Independence festivities, June 2012.

Samoa’s Cyclone Evan death toll at 5; 11 still missing

by tautalatala.com staff

Samoa’s death toll from Cyclone Evan stands at five with 11 missing says the latest Cyclone Evan report issued by the Samoa Government, the Eve of Christmas. The report notes that nine are lost at sea and two are lost on land.

The largest numbers of displaced people are from urban areas. This has related sanitation concerns given problems with inconsistent reticulated water supply in parts of this area. Villages in rural areas of Upolu also suffered losses of completely destroyed houses and displaced people, with the most significant damage and displacement in the districts of  Lefaga, Safata, Siumu Falealili and Fagaloa.

More than half a million homes, according to the release, were completely destroyed.

WATER

Water to the following areas has been restored: Vaivase Uta, Vaivase Tai, Magiagi, Moataa, Apia Park, Vaiala, Vaipuna, Matautu Uta, Matautu Tai, Apia, Aai o Niue, Maluafou, Faatoia, part of Lelata, Maagao, Vailele, Vailima, Papaloloa, Papauta, Leufisa, Tanugamanono, Motootua Hospital area, Taufusi, Saleufi, Vaimea to Lepea, Alamagoto, Moamoa to Vaitele, Siusega going westwards to Leulumoega Tuai.

Supply to the Tupua Tamasese Meaole hospital at Motootua is now fully restored.
Establishment of water refilling stations for the public has started with two tanks installed behind the John Williams Building and another two at Malifa. The remaining tanks will be distributed and installed at strategic locations as they become available.
The rural water supply schemes that were yet to be fully restored (at the time of the report) include Aleisa, Tafitoala, Faleapuna, Tiavi, Aleipata, Saanapu and Salamumu, and Tiavea Uta & Tai. Samoa Water Authority teams are distributing generators to enable pumping of water from village boreholes.

PLANTATIONS/FARMS

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) reports that the worst hit areas are Lefaga, Salamumu, Safata, Siumu, and Falealili Districts, including Aleisa and Cross-Island Road. In these areas, there is 100 percent loss of Banana trees, 50 percent loss of Breadfruit and 80 percent loss of other economically important crops (i.e. cocoa, citrus, and coffee). Root crops suffered a 30 percent loss. Livestock data is still being gathered, and there is estimated to be minimal damage to coastal fisheries.

ELECTRICITY

Electricity has been restored to the following locations: the Central Business District from Matautu to Mulinuu, Tanugamanono to parts of Letogo and Moataa; Vaitele and Vaitele-Fou to Toamua and from the Chinese Embassy to the Matautu Wharf and Tuanaimato to Tanumapua.

Due to severe damage to the pen stocks for the hydro power plant at Lalomauga, the Electric Power Corporation has revised its plans to reinstate the power supply from this plant as early as possible by instigating the hiring of generators from development partners overseas to help minimize disruptions.
Two teams of linesman from Savaii were assisting in the Safata, Siumu and Falealili areas. The extra manpower will help hasten repair work, as electricity supply is also critical to power water pumps for water circulation.

PUBLIC HEALTH

For public health concerns, water and sanitation is an issue at all evacuation centers due to lack of water and subsequent poor personal hygiene, causing concern for the risk of an outbreak of disease. The presence of rodents attracted to the camp waste is being discouraged through daily rubbish collection.

Due to lack of electricity, a number of food storage safety checks were initiated and 18 premises were closed due to lack of water. Food sellers are being checked to ensure the safety the public health. In response, nutritional guidance and hygiene maintenance notices are being broadcast via radio and by way of public notices in evacuation centers.
Increasing dust from dried river sediment is also an issue.

Water sampling is taking place, however analysis is not possible due to lack of electricity. The Health Sector has mobilized three (3) clinical teams of Ministry of Health (MOH) staff to visit all of Apia’s urban shelters. The National Health Service has similar responsibilities for Upolu’s rural shelters whilst maintaining normal outpatient and emergency services. The MOH has implemented their hazard assessment and risk management plan which allows for inspection and monitoring teams to be deployed every second day.

TOURISM

The Samoa Tourism Authority conducted a rapid assessment and reports that Cyclone Evan affected accommodation properties in Apia, Siumu, Salamumu and Safata. The hotels on the southern side of Upolu that were earlier affected by the 2009 tsunami, such as Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa, Coconuts Beach Club Resort & Spa, Maninoa Beach Fales, Sina PJ Beach Fales and Samoana Resort have also been affected.

DONATE
The Ministry of Finance has established the “Cyclone Evan Special Purpose Account” to enable the public to make donations in support of those affected by the cyclone. Details below:
Bank account name: GOS Cyclone Evan
Account no: 4040880
Bank: ANZ Bank (Samoa) Ltd

ASSISTANCE
A third Australian airlift, via a chartered Qantas 767, delivered emergency relief supplies to Samoa before Christmas, bringing more than 800 hygiene kits comprised of soap, towels, a torch, candles, batteries and other personal items.
Also included in the emergency relief were supplies of protective cleaning gear and generators from the Australian Federal Police for Samoa Police Service outstations.
The delivery followed a major airlift last Friday Dec. 21, where an Australian Defence Force C-17 delivered more than 28 tons of cargo including 5000+ insecticide nets, 2000+ tarpaulins and shelter kits.

“The supplies will make an important difference to affected families over Christmas and the New Year. Australia continues to work closely with the Government of Samoa and development partners to ensure vital humanitarian needs are met,” said Dr. Stephen Henningham, Australia’s High Commissioner to Samoa.

A third shipment of 20 pallets of relief supplies arrived from American Samoa overnight. The shipment of emergency assistance arrived late Sunday evening through the Governor’s Office and includes 12 pallets of bottled water, one pallet of canned goods and seven pallets of clothing and towels.

NGO & PRIVATE ASSISTANCE
SUNGO, or the Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organizations, had its first meeting with its members on Saturday, Dec. 21. 2012. The Disaster Management Office (DMO) attended and advised them to focus on the psycho–social aspects for those affected.
The ANZ Bank has donated ST$100,000 to Caritas for its relief programs.
Samoa Red Cross has now refocused its efforts to the distribution of bedding and clothing as the DMO has taken responsibility for all welfare centre distributions etc. Red Cross is also assisting with latrine pit construction and community water supply in conjunction with its water and sanitation sector responsibilities.

(Source: Samoa Press Secretariat)

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