16 Feb 2018

Flooding main area of damage in Samoa from Cyclone Gita

11:52 am on 16 February 2018

Flooding around the capital Apia has been the main reported area of damage from Cyclone Gita in Samoa.

Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papaliitele Unasa Niko Lee Hang and Minister of Communication, Information & Technology Afamasaga Rico Tupai with government officials visited Fagaloa.

Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papaliitele Unasa Niko Lee Hang and Minister of Communication, Information & Technology Afamasaga Rico Tupai with government officials visited Fagaloa. Photo: Samoa Government

Gita swept through Samoa at the weekend when it was still a category two storm.

Samoa's prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and a government assessment team visited parts of the country yesterday.

RNZ Pacific's correspondent in Samoa, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia accompanied the team.

He said most of the damage caused has been through flooding, especially in and around Apia where the Vaisigano River's banks were breached.

"Houses were damaged inside. The land as well, it was all flooded with debris and mud," he said.

"But the assessment of the whole main islands of Upolu and Savaii, everything is good. You can see all the trees still standing there with their leaves. And people are now back into normal life."

One of the most serious flooding areas was around Samoa's iconic Aggie Grey's Sheraton Hotel near the Apia waterfront.

"The hotel is now closed, no lights at night," Autagavaia explained.

"We went and saw the hotel yesterday, and it's a big, big mess there at Sheraton hotel. And staff and workers of the Sheraton are putting their effort to do the clean-up."

As of today, Fagaloa is yet to have power restored, but officials from the Electric Power Corporation said power should be back on line as late as Sunday, with Saturday targeted as the initial deadline for it to be restored.

The government said Cyclone Gita's damages and recovery work will be determined following the onsite visits.

The Cabinet Cyclone Gita onsite inspection will move to Savaii tomorrow.

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