Am. Samoa Cleans Up After Near Miss By Tropical Storm

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Flooding, power outages, landslide caused by Tuni

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Nov. 30, 2015) –Department of Public Works crews and equipment were out early Saturday morning clearing up the roads and also in Gataivai where a landslide affected the residence of the CCCAS pastor that is located next to the church. This follows the heavy rain and strong winds Friday night from the Tropical Storm Tuni that passed south of American Samoa on Saturday. The Tropical Storm Warning was cancelled at 5:28 p.m., Saturday, after a night and day of flooding and power outages around Tutuila.

The area where the landslide occurred was the same area where a landslide came down last year July, which severely damaged the church next to the residence affected in Friday night’s slide. The current landslide according to the bystanders occurred Friday evening around 11pm due to the heavy rain. Samoa News received calls that homes were flooded all over the island, such as Tula, Amanave, Utulei, Pago Pago and also Tualauta County.

Maota Fale was in his Gatavai residence on Saturday morning trying to fix the roof with the help of his grandson. He told Samoa News their residence was flooded and his family, which consists of eight children wanted to leave however that did not happen as they had no place to go. The family however managed to remove the water from their residence and told Samoa News that they will be seeking assistance from the Red Cross.

As of Saturday morning Fale stated no one from the government had offered assistance to the family, when he saw crews passing by heading to where the landslide occurred.

According to the police, crews were dispatched to several landslides — in Onenoa, Fatu ma Futi and Gataivai. ASPA crews were also out dealing with power outages due to falling trees, mostly on the western side of the island.

The Department of Homeland Security deactivated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 6 p.m. Saturday, returning it to its normal 24/7 operation.

In the meantime, Niue's government issued an alert for the country's residents on Saturday advising them to board up their homes and stock up on supplies as Tropical Cyclone Tuni moved towards the island, a day after it caused flooding and landslips in Samoa and American Samoa, according to Radio New Zealand.

The category one cyclone intensified on Sunday as it slowly moved at about 17 km/h through Tonga's northern waters and was predicted to pass within 60 km (38 miles) of Niue overnight, with the island's meteorology department saying there was a chance it could veer off course and hit the country directly. The chief of police, Tony Edwards, said authorities weren't taking any chances and had issued a "yellow alert" — advising residents to prepare themselves on Sunday afternoon.

"So if they could batten up their houses, make sure that they've got enough water and the other things because we're going into the nightfall we don't want anyone running around at night," he said. "We can't determine what's going to happen, but we're going to ensure that our people are prepared for the worst," Chief Edwards said before the storm made its closest pass by the island.

Last night around midnight the winds intensified around the island before easing again, according to Chief Edwards. A gale warning remains in force for Niue, as Tuni moves southeast around 160 kilometers (about 100 miles) northeast of the island, however Edwards says he expects that Niue has seen the worst of the cyclone overnight.

High seas and thunderstorms were forecast for today.

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