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(Western) Samoans plan new lives away from the sea
« on: October 06, 2009, 05:34:49 AM »

Samoans Plan New Lives Away From the Sea

Samoans who fled to the hills during deadly tsunami plan new lives far away from the sea

Samoans who fled to the hills as a deadly tsunami tore through their villages last week began searching for materials to build new homes far above the sea that washed away their dwellings and many loved ones.

The tsunami claimed another life Monday as a woman who had been rescued from the raging waters died from her injuries in Samoa's Apia Hospital, police said. The death toll stood at 178, with 137 killed in Samoa, 32 in American Samoa, and nine in nearby Tonga.

Nearly a week after the disaster, hundreds of Samoans remain huddled in the hills above the coast — and none appeared ready to return to life on the beach.
"We don't want to go back down," said Solo Feleni, whose family is living in a tent. "This is the safest place for us."

Feleni said survivors urgently need more water; the last delivery to her area was three days ago. Staff of South Pacific Water, Samoa's bottled mineral water exporter, made a third trip into the hills Monday to deliver another 400 cases of water.

Some survivors of the Sept. 29 tsunami, which was triggered by a 8.3-magnitude underwater earthquake, were also asking for building materials, as they began planning their new homes high above the coast.

"We don't want to live at our usual place because it brings back sad memories of the disaster," said Fuea Ta'uinaola, who is camping with his family on a hillside at Satitoa village. The family is considering relocating to the area from the coastal village of Aleipata, which was virtually wiped out by the tsunami.

Chief executive of Samoa's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Taulealeausumai Laavasa Malua, said the government will provide support for families who want to rebuild inland. Tsunami-devastated villages had previously been identified as being at risk from flooding, he said.

But while those who have lost their homes are not interested in rebuilding along the coast at the moment, Malua said it will be a challenge to convince them in the longer term to settle inland.

By KENI LESA Associated Press Writer
LALOMANU, Samoa October 6, 2009


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