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One of many beaches that were destroyed by the tsunami. It was one of the well known beaches in Lalomanu area. Credits: Christina Mareko/Caritas

One of many beaches that were destroyed by the tsunami. It was one of the well known beaches in Lalomanu area.
Credits: Christina Mareko/Caritas

Sia’ea Manuele was born 8 January 2008 in Samoa. On the 28 September, she was staying with her maternal grandparents at their beach house in Aganoa. That’s where she was when the tsunami hit the next morning and killed her instantly. She’s one of the four people from Saaga Siumu who were victims of this disaster that hit Samoa.

Sia’ea’s paternal grandfather Areta Manuele said, “[Her maternal grandmother] suspected something was going on so she woke up Sia’ea and started running. The waves caught up with them and took Sia’ea. That was the last time the old lady saw her. They found her stuck among waste being carried in by the waves.

“We didn’t wait for the state funeral service, we just asked our family for help and some answered back and bought cement for her grave. She was buried on Saturday 3rd October 2009.She will be forever in our hearts. We miss her because she was starting to learn things and now she’s gone. She was beginning to learn all our names, she calls me Pa, and so I’m really going miss her.”

Over 150 people are reported dead as a result of massive tsunami waves which hammered the South Pacific islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga, after a huge earthquake at sea.

“There were 14 people died from Satitoa, I survived because we lived in a two storey-building and the waves didn’t reach the second storey of my house,” said Tuaoimaalii Iofi Su’a, one of the survivors from the village of Satitoa.

“My grand niece, Taimane Tupuola died when she tried to run with her mother up the hill. Apparently the waves caught up with them and caused them to separate. Now our house is still standing whereas everything is destroyed, from windows to furniture. Everything except for the house itself is now all ruins,” he said. His family is now camping in the forest.

“We really need a home to move to but for now we need tents because the one we have is still not enough. We need water for everyday living; drinking water is more than enough except for water for shower and cleaning,” said Tuaoimaalii Iofi Su’a.

Satitoa is one of the three main villages Caritas Samoa is focusing on now. Caritas Samoa is planning to rebuild houses for all those living in Satitoa.