Samoa: Updating on Cyclone Evan relief efforts


The National Disaster Council resolved at its seventh meeting on Monday 31st December 2012 to close all temporary shelters and begin the remobilization of people back to their villages and residences, to start the process of rebuilding. The notice of closure from the NDC is premised on the following: • That consultations regarding evacuees returning to their homes have been completed; • That it is confirmed that sufficient relief supplies have been provided to families over the last three weeks; • That school buildings and facilities used as shelters need to be cleaned and made ready for the commencement of the school year at the end of January 2013.

The shelters will officially close Saturday 5th January 2013 at 12:00pm. To date, the NEOC (National Emergency Operation Centre) has continued to coordinate responses to the relief needs of the displaced population currently accommodated at the shelters in Apia town area and rural villages, as well as residences where displaced relatives or neighbours have sought refuge. A bulk distribution was made on 31 December 2012 as no distribution will occur on the 1st or 2nd of January 2013. Operations will resume again on the 3rd January. However, personnel at NEOC will be on call in case of emergencies. In terms of food and water, the NEOC is supplying a reduced number (8) of shelters within the urban areas (correct as of 29th December 2012). Four of these are directly managed by the Disaster Advisory Committee (DAC) where numbers using those shelters have reduced significantly.

 The remaining shelters are either under the control of denominational groups or Alii and Faipule of villages where they are located. Rural shelters in West Upolu number 30 and East Upolu number 33. In addition, approximately 1,150 individual requests for assistance from affected families have been responded to and supplied by NEOC. This is based on a verification assessment conducted prior to supplying the request. The bulk of food and water supplies are provided by the Government of Samoa from local wholesalers and water companies. Some food and water were also donated by the People and the Government of American Samoa and some from local individuals and denominations. Aside from these, the bulk of the international assistance is shelter, sanitation kits, tools and technical expertise.


Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has revealed Government has no plans at the moment to request the United Nations to postpone Samoa’s graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status scheduled for 2014. However, he pointed out, Samoa’s vulnerability to natural disasters continues to be exacerbated by climate change. As has been the experience with Cyclone Evan and the 2009 tsunami, natural disasters are a major threat to economic stability and sustainability for small island states like Samoa. This vulnerability will be highlighted prominently when Samoa hosts the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) summit in late 2014, the Prime Minister said. The single largest international conference to be hosted in Apia, over 2000 delegates from over a hundred countries are expected to attend the SIDS Samoa Summit, 2014.


The Prime Minister also assured that major infrastructural projects such as: the 15-storey Government building at Savalalo; converting the Government building at Eleele Fou to a five-star hotel and the Apia Waterfront Redevelopment project are still on track for this year. “These major projects provide long term benefits that Government is committed to see through,” said Prime Minister Tuilaepa.


The Electric Power Corporation’s hydro-network suffered significant damage due to large volumes of water flow and debris affecting various waterways. The EPC is assessing the damage to its hydro-network and will undertake repair work as soon as practicable. Whilst the EPC is working to provide electricity to all consumers as soon as possible, the damage to EPC’s generation capacity means that it cannot supply enough electricity to meet the usual electricity demands of all consumers. Re-Electrification Scheduling: The EPC has restored power to 80 percent of Upolu.  The remaining 20 percent without power are in the Siumu to Lefaga areas, right up to Fusi where EPC are currently working with a tentative restoration date of Saturday 5th January 2013.

Request to Limit Energy Use Until Generation Capacity Restored: The EPC can currently supply only 70 percent of its peak demand and 70-75 percent of its consumers from the limited generators available at extreme stress without reserve. These generation limitations will be addressed with the arrival of 6x 1250kVA generators from New Zealand on 7 January 2013. As a short term measure, the EPC has requested customers to use power for essential needs only, and for those who have standby generators, to utilize these standby generators. Consumers are asked to switch off air conditioning units, unnecessary lights, refrigerators and high-energy appliances so electricity can be accessed and shared by all. EPC staff have repaired and brought substantial generation capacity back to the Tanugamanono Power Station, however current power generation cannot meet the standard full electricity demands for the whole islands of Upolu and Manono Tai until the arrival of the six generators next Monday.


Rehabilitation and maintenance works are ongoing at the most affected areas, namely the Alaoa Treatment Plant, which supplies most of the urban areas that were badly damaged by the Cyclone.  Supply problem areas identified include Vaivase, Maluafou, Vaiala and Fagalii-Uta. Urban water supply schemes fed from the following service areas are currently online, except where noted: Afiamalu, Malololelei, Vailima, Fagali’i-Uta, Vailele (some parts offline – customers living across from the Golf Course), Tapatapao and Fuluasou.  Water carting – carting of drinking water is ongoing and operated by the Samoa Water Authority (SWA), Adventist Development Relief Fund (ADRA), OXFAM and Samoa Red Cross while private tankers (Alafua Transport, Toleafoa and Ah Liki) have been engaged by the Ministry of Natural Resources to car river water for general domestic use.

The Fuluasou River was the only source recommended for carting water as it is clean.  FESA (Fire and Emergency Services) trucks are also assisting in carting drinking water to shelters and commercial customers. Water filling stations – 16 locations in both the urban and rural areas have been identified by the Water and Sanitation Sector to install tanks in response to the public’s water demands at this critical time.  There are two types of tanks at each site, one for drinking water (to be filled by SWA, FESA, ADRA and Samoa Red Cross) and one for sanitation purposes to be filled by local water carting contractors.

These Stations are at the following locations: John Williams Building, Malifa Compound, Faatoia, Maagao, Leone, Levili, Vaiala-Uta, Vailoa (Aleipata), Satitoa, Saleaumua, Tafitoala, Siumu (Palalaua), Mulifanua, Manono, Palisi, Fagalii. Borehole Monitoring – All borehole supply areas had been offline since the Cyclone due to power outages.  The arrival and installation of seven (7) generators through the New Zealand Hercules special flight on 21 December 2012 has allowed for all borehole supplies to get back online. Savaii Operations – Overall no major damages from the Cyclone in Savaii. Only minor bursts of connections and meters from falling trees, which were fixed upon notification from the public.


Areas affected by flooding during Cyclone Evan have been divided into zones with a total of sixteen (16) contractors deployed, using 100 trucks to transport debris to the Tafaigata Landfill. Approximately 50 percent of debris has already been removed from the Apia area. Clean up in Tafitoala, Lotofaga, Safata, and Luatuanuu in currently ongoing.


Bluesky:  Two mobile phone towers were restored on Saturday 29th December 2012 on Manono Island (serving Manono Island, the Upolu coastline from Mulifanua to Samatau, and on-board the Savaii ferry route) and Mafafa Hill (serving Upolu coastal areas between Samatau to Matautu, Falelatai over the hill, Upolu south coast areas from Faleseela-Tai to Lefaga.)  Five cell sites are still down:

1. Cape Utumauu (Luatuanuu) – No Mains Power

2. Fogalepulu (Afulilo Dam, Le Mafa Pass) – No Mains Power

3. Sauniatu (Manunu) – Broken Optic Fibre

4. Satalo – Tower Damaged

5. Salamumu – Tower Damaged

Digicel: Out of 54 sites, 50 are operational.  This is expected to increase to 52 by Friday 4th January 2013.  Areas still affected are Samusu – Afulilo (Aleipata) & parts of Safata.


The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment are continuing their cleaning campaigns.


The Ministry of Finance has established the “Cyclone Evan Special Purpose Account” to enable donations to support those affected by the Cyclone.

Bank account name: GOS Cyclone Evan

Account no: 4040880

Bank: ANZ Bank (Samoa) Ltd


More assistance arrived from the Government of American Samoa on Saturday 29th December 2012, in the form of 28 pallets comprised of food and water supplies, clothing and tents. These 28 pallets are in addition to the 20 already in country. An additional Bluesky shipment of 8 pallets from American Samoa of bottled water, food and clothing was received on Monday, 31 December, 2012.


NGOs continue to support communities through the distribution of non-food items and assistance with water and sanitation needs.

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