Caritas brings aid to Samoa tsunami survivors
01 October 2009
Caritas teams delivered assistance to survivors in Samoa hours after the devastating tsunami struck the Pacific island.
The devastation caused by the earthquake-generated tsunami is seen on the south coast of Western Samoa in this aerial handout photograph obtained October 1, 2009.
The tsunami caused loss of lives and destruction in Samoa, American Samoa (a US territory), and Tonga.
“We were there within 5–6 hours after the tsunami struck delivering assistance. The devastation was astronomical, worse than anything I have ever seen”, said Peter Bendinelli Chair of Caritas Samoa.
“Our trucks leave brimming with food, water and clothing and return full of people who have lost their homes, are sick and injured” said Mr Bendinelli.
The Caritas response to the Pacific Tsunami in Samoa is being coordinated out of the local Catholic Pastoral Centre. “Six vans and two trucks are constantly ferrying goods to the worst affected areas”, Mr Bendinelli said. “98 people are confirmed dead but many of the worst affected areas are yet to be assessed as the roads to them have been cut off.
“More than 90 people are seeking temporary shelter in the Pastoral Centre having lost their homes. Yesterday we brought in a further 9 people who required emergency medical assistance and this number has been growing steadily today.
“Food, clean water and shelter are the most pressing needs. All the water pipes that run along beside the roads fronting the sea have been totally destroyed as the tsunami waters receded and people are in urgent need of water.” Initial needs assessments on the South side of Upolu (including the villages of Si’umi and Falali’ili’I have indicated an immediate need for food, water and shelter.
Caritas is looking to provide support and counseling to the affected population there, and in American Samoa the Church is also assessing the best way to respond.
Please contact Patrick Nicholson on 0039 334 359 0700 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand: Martin de Jong 0064 (0)4 496 1742 or 0064 (0)21-909 688.
Caritas Australia: Tim O’Connor 0061 (0)2 8306 3444 or 0061 (0)417 284 831