The next steps in Samoa
02 October 2009
Caritas Samoa estimates it will need US$100,000 immediately to provide people with help following the recent tsunami which battered parts of the archipelago.
A Samoan man walks through debris of his neighbourhood near Lalomanu on the southern coast of Western Samoa September 30, 2009, as he looks for a matching shoe. His village was destroyed by a tsunami, one in a series that smashed into the Pacific island nations of American and Western Samoa.
Over 150 people are reported dead as a result of massive tsumani waves which hammered the South Pacific islands, and destroyed buildings and infrastructure earlier this week.
“Water is the main problem there. Without water no one can work very long in this heat and the sun,” says Peter Bendinelli, who is coordinating relief efforts for Caritas Samoa.
Caritas is buying large quantities of water and trucking them to the areas in need.
Caritas was on the scene assessing the situation within hours of the disaster striking. It has been assisting taking people to church accommodation and to the hospital.
Caritas hopes to provide tsunami survivors with temporary housing, water tanks, gas cylinders and help to reconnect to the electricity supply.
Some villages, such as in Lalomanu, entire communities have been wiped out. Recovering the bodies of the tsunami victims is a priority because of the heat and also to allow relatives to mourn.
"The first thing is to make sure that all the bodies have been found. There are still quite a few missing unfortunately and that's very hard for people, not knowing whether their family is dead or alive or where they are, so most people are searching for them right now," says Mr Bendinelli.
Relief workers are trying to clear roads that are blocked by debris to help make aid delivery easier.
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