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Samoa struggling to recover from Cyclone Evan

Published: 11:28AM Thursday February 28, 2013 Source: ONE News

Latest figures show Samoa has spent $250 million repairing the damage caused by Cyclone Evan as the country struggles to get back on its feet.

The Government has set up a loans scheme for those who lost their homes in the cyclone in which four people were confirmed dead, with another nine missing at sea.

"It's only natural that the families would like to see the Government building the homes for them," said Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

"This is the easiest option but of course we have to look at our resources as well."

More than 250 houses were completely destroyed in Cyclone Evan and many of the residents cannot afford to rebuild.

Now they are facing a new struggle as the Vaisigano River, which runs into Apia, has changed course, continually flooding many houses.

Flood victim Ofisa Taamilo has had to move his four children to temporary shelter on higher ground as his riverbank home is too vulnerable.

"It's been very, very hard. We are very much hoping the Government will come up with something very soon and sort out because we are on the edge of life we are about to give up," said Taamilo.

Others living in the Magiagi Valley are also at risk to the flood-prone river.

"Right now I am desperately reaching out to anyone to help rebuild our home, my family and I are living under a taupaulin, please help me and my children," said Magiagi Valley resident Filo Taulagia.

A group of New Zealand Engineers has surveyed the area and made recommendations.

They have advised building river banks, enforcing buffer zones and relocated at risk homes and businesses.

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