New Zealand aid workers will fly into Samoa this week to help
address a critical shortage of clean water.
Water supplies were badly affected when Cyclone Evan slammed
the Pacific nation more than a week ago, killing at least
five people and forcing thousands into evacuation centres.
Samoa's government this week said a forecast for when
reliable nationwide water supplies could be expected was yet
to be determined.
The main water treatment plant serving the capital Apia and
other parts of the main island of Upolu was working, but
large sections of pipe were still missing.
Oxfam's Pacific humanitarian manager Carlos Calderon said the
water shortage remained Samoa's biggest concern, and some
areas would not get their supply restored until after
Mr Calderon will fly from New Zealand to Apia this week to
help aid groups distribute large flexible water tanks, which
can easily be transported on flat bed trucks.
The tanks could serve 4000 people in Apia but on the badly
affected southwest coast, they would serve as few as 2000
Samoa's government said water and sanitation officials were
working to install 28 locally produced 10,000 litre communal
water tanks in affected communities, and 12 water filling
stations at urban and rural sites.
About 4800 people remain in some 40 evacuation centres,
mostly on the main island of Upolu, including eight in the
Mr Calderon said one of the concerns at evacuation centres
was getting people back to their normal lives.
Seven of Apia's evacuation centres were in schools, which
would prevent students from returning to school or university
when the holiday period ends.
"We need to try to foster the recovery process in their own
neighbourhoods in Apia."
In Fiji, electricity and water had been restored quickly, but
Mr Calderon said there was a strong impact on businesses such
as hotels and resorts.
In the cyclone-hit north, emergency supplies including food
and water were distributed from Sunday, the Fiji Times
Both Fiji and Samoa are set to receive extra power generators
to supply areas whose electricity was knocked out by the
The New Zealand branch of power supply multinational Aggreko
said it would send six generators and one transformer to
Samoa, and four generators to Fiji.
Aggreko NZ area general manager Philip Lendich said the
company's team in the islands has been working hard all week
to help the community while also supporting their own
"Our depot in Fiji is already working at capacity so we are
shipping our most powerful units that are capable of
supplying power to whole villages as they recover from the
"We are making final preparations, including servicing the
generators at our depot in Auckland, ready for the first
available shipment and immediate utilisation once they arrive
in Samoa and Fiji."
- Matthew Backhouse of APNZ