20 Feb 2018

Emergency supplies arrive in American Samoa

12:09 pm on 20 February 2018

A Boeing 747 freighter has arrived in the American Samoa capital Pago Pago with emergency supplies for victims of Cyclone Gita.

Damage from Cyclone Gita in American Samoa.

Damage from Cyclone Gita in American Samoa. Photo: Twiiter/ Aumua Amata

The American Red Cross chartered the flight which brought in tents, army cots, clean up and first aid kits and tarpaulins to help those who suffered damage in the storm which hit more than a week ago.

It also brought in batteries, stuffed animals, propane gas tanks and insect repellant.

Two Red Cross officials traveled on the Pacific Air Cargo flight and join eight others from the San Diego Red Cross, under which the local Red Cross comes.

American Samoa flooding

Photo: Supplied/ Monica Miller

Assessments of the damage caused by Gita are expected to be completed early this week.

Schools to reopen

The director of education in American Samoa said schools will all be able to open tomorrow after being shut last week because of damage caused by the cyclone.

Two schools were without power over the weekend, and one had no water but Ruth Matagi Tofiga, is confident all schools will be ready for a Tuesday start.

an empty American Samoa school bus.

an empty American Samoa school bus. Photo: Supplied/ Monica Miller

Dr Tofiga said the school leadership and staff working together with the Department of Public Works have done a wonderful job.

Meanwhile faith based centres are now providing meals for people after the closure of the last of the emergency shelters, most of which were at schools.

Concern for children and elderly

As American Samoa recovers from the damage caused by Cyclone Gita, a victims' advocate, Ipu Lefiti, has urged vigilance in the care of both the elderly and children.

She said parents must be alert and know the whereabouts of their children at all times.

Mrs Lefiti said many children would still be experiencing emotional and mental trauma from the cyclone's effects.

Children take part in the Nobesity Samoa programme

Photo: RNZI/Sally Round

She also said residents needed to be watchful and sensitive towards the elderly, who were most likely to be emotionally and mentally distressed.

Local fruit shortage likely after Gita

There's expected to be a shortage of locally produced fruit and vegetables in American Samoa after farmers suffered major damage in Cyclone Gita.

Sosene Leau said 90 percent of his sasalapa crop, due for its first harvest, was wiped out.

He expected there would also be a shortage of locally produced bananas after major damage to banana trees but he says breadfruit or "ulu" suffered the worst.

"Most of the breadfruit trees are either damaged or they are fallen over and it will take two to three years to grow back before they start, you know, having fruit."

Sosene Leau said other hydroponic farmers also suffered and the impact will be felt in three to four weeks.

"The wind flattened everything and I know a couple of other hydroponic farmers ... their whole place is wiped out."

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