WATER STILL SCARCE IN RECOVERING SAMOA

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Tsunami victims rely on weekly truck deliveries

By Rosalio Setefano APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, April 16, 2010) – Water woes is a never-ending nightmare for hundreds of tsunami victims

While efforts are being made to help, it’s simply not good enough.

Some victims who spoke to the Weekend Observer said some of them have to go several days without a shower.

Drinking water is rationed carefully, the few times it is made available.

For many people living in new settlements inland, a trip to the coastal area with buckets of water has become the routine.

It’s not getting easier with the dry season setting in.

At Ulutogia on Thursday, while residents there praised Digicel for their help in building tsunami houses, they say they lack their most basic need.

Levasa Vaega said without water, life is almost impossible.

He was among matai of the village who begged for help through the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, who was there during the Digicel dedication.

Levasa said the Samoa Water Authority (SWA) truck comes once a week.

"We have water tanks distributed to us by Red Cross but we have to wait for the water truck to come by and fill it," he said.

"As a result we have to travel into the centre of the village to get water – this is very far."

He pointed out that water was needed for bathing, washing, cleaning and cooking. Fa’animo Togitasi, a mother of three, said it’s a depressing life having to worry about water every day.

"Two of my children go to school and it’s very hard when there is no water for their needs," she said.

"The kids don’t know how to bath or clean themselves. The hardest thing is how to prepare their lunches for school."

Ms Togitasi said they rejoice when it rains. "We feel lucky when it rains," she said. Hosea and Jolita Aumua Fitivale are students.

"When there is no water we have to go to school without showering," they said. "Sometimes, this can go for several days.

"We need water. Without it we can’t live," Hosea said.

,Their garden is also dying because they cannot water it.

Another resident, Tavae Imoa said the service of those who distribute water was not good.

"It’s very hard for us to travel to get water – we are too far back from the main village the roads are very bad," he said.

"I don’t know why they can’t be bothered when there is not much to do all they have to do is fill the tanks that are already there."

The General Manager of the Samoa Water Authority was not immediately available for a comment yesterday.

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