15 Feb 2018

Cyclone Gita: Samoa clean-up effort making progress

7:38 pm on 15 February 2018

The Samoan authorities expect phone communications to be up to 90 percent restored by the end of the week after Cyclone Gita struck at the weekend.

Red Cross staff checking on people flooded out in Samoa.

Flooding in Samoa during Cyclone Gita Photo: Twitter @IFRCAsiaPacific

Most schools will remain closed until Monday with many on Upolu still wet and muddy with dangling power lines, no running water or power.

Samoa was heavily flooded and lashed by strong winds as Gita started to intensify on its journey through the islands of the central Pacific.

The government has put out a report on the damage so far and efforts to restore power and water.

Disaster management authorities said the clearance of debris was going well, there is access throughout the country and businesses have re-opened.

All air, sea and land transportation has resumed but there are some roads affected by heavy slips but they're being attended to.

The report said the government decided on Monday evening to extend the Declaration of Disaster for another 48 hours.

It said the main priorities were restoring power and water, clearing debris and felled trees, and distributing relief supplies to those affected, most of whom are on the island of Upolu.

Electricity has been restored to most villages on both Upolu and Savai'i islands and the power corporation expects all power to be restored by Saturday.

The Samoa Water Authority reported water systems for all of Savai'i should be restored by next Wednesday.

Flooding in Apia

Photo: Samoa Disaster Management Office

Water has been restored to Upolu's urban area and it is being carted to those remoter areas still without.

There has been some damage to government buildings including the main hospital where work is underway.

The report said hotels and resorts sustained only minimal damage apart from Sheraton Aggie Grey which was severely affected by flooding.

About 30 percent of food crops in the worst hit areas were damaged and banana and breadfruit trees were the worst affected but the authorities said food security was not likely to be a concern.

"Food supply is not foreseen to be an issue as the root crops such as yams, manioka and umala will sustain food supply market for domestic use ensuring food security in the next few months," the report said.

The report identifies several public health concerns with the lack of water and other issues, including dengue, gastroenteritis and post traumatic stress disorder.

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