5 Oct 2009

All but five American Samoan schools to reopen tomorrow

2:44 pm on 5 October 2009

All but five elementary schools in American Samoa will reopen tomorrow following closure of both high and elementary schools because of last week's tsunami, that so far has claimed 32 lives with three more people reported missing.

Education Department director, Dr. Claire Tuia Poumele, says the decision follows an assessment report provided by the Department of Public Works on the status of each school.

She says one elementary school, located on the shoreline village of Poloa, was completed destroyed and students will be accommodated at a nearby school.

Several schools in the Eastern district of the main island of Tutuila do not have electricity but do have water.

Officials say it will be weeks before debris is cleared from affected villages.

The director of public works, Taeaotui Punaofo Tilei, is optimistic his staff of 60, with villagers helping out, can make good progress this week.

"Right now we are concentrating on the main road to make it easier for everybody to go from one end of the island to the other . And also to remove some of the debris from the school before they start on Monday. Maybe some school is completely destroyed."

Taeaotui Punaofo Tilei, the director of public works in American Samoa.