Cyclone Evan “much worse” than 2009 tsunami, Caritas says

The damage caused by Cyclone Evan is much worse than the 2009 tsunami according to the head of Caritas Samoa.

Puletini Tuala says 20 people are missing, more than 4,500 people are in evacuation centres (with over 300 people in Caritas-supported centres) and over 4,000 homes have been destroyed.

“This is worse than the 2009 tsunami, much worse,” said Tuala as he described the significant damage, including the powerful surge of water from the damaged dam.

“The river has overflowed; I’ve never seen so many cars buried under debris and on top of homes.”

Sanitation is desperately needed for evacuation centres; however the situation is improving. Tanks have been delivered and are being filled with water; port-a-loos have been installed, and engineers are connecting tanks to toilets.

Caritas is also supplying food, water and basic assistance to hundreds of people who have lost their homes and are staying with friends or relatives in the local area.

“People’s immediate needs are food, water, sanitation and shelter,” said  Tuala. “Caritas can care for up to 400 people in centres for the next 2-3 weeks. After this time, we will need to build shelters and homes for them.

“On Saturday morning we sent out trucks with tarpaulins and hygiene kits, among other things. Luckily the houses we built after the last tsunami were standing strong, and their water tanks were intact.

“Altogether we have responded to 2,000 families (with 6-8 people in each family).”

Caritas Samoa is also distributing clean water to those in need. The organisation has water containers pre-positioned for emergencies where people can get refills easily.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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