7 Oct 2009

Red Cross in American Samoa running short of water

12:31 pm on 7 October 2009

The Red Cross in tsunami-devastated American Samoa says it's running short of water.

The aid agency has been delivering tens of thousands of litres of bottled water in the past few days, but it says it's not enough.

Our reporter Clint Owens is at the Red Cross base in the village of Tafuna.

"The Red Cross says getting enough water to tsunami victims is the biggest obstacle its facing. One shelter manager says they are trying to get as much water as possible brought in from Hawaii, and several thousand more litres of water will be distributed to affected villages today. Five-hundred tents, close to 1,000 sleeping cots and 800 care kits will also be distributed. The aid effort on the island has already been boosted by the arrival of the national guard."

Meanwhile, Clint Owens reports the extent of the environmental impact to American Samoa from the tsunami is still unclear.

He says pollutants from cars, boats and the island's main power station washed over parts of the coast a week ago.

The American military is still cleaning up hazardous chemicals that were swept up by tsunami and deposited by land and in the ocean. Amir Addmishani of the American military's Pacific Command Joint Taskforce for Homeland Defence says there is no question there is a lot of toxic material to clean up. But he says at this stage they can't really be sure how bad the environmental situation is. Locals are also raising questions about what effects there will be in the harbour area of the capital, Pago Pago.