Samoa declares meteorological drought
Samoa declares meteorological drought.
The Samoan government has declared a 'meteorological drought' and urged people to conserve water.
The Ministry of National Resources and Environment has reported lower than average rainfall across the country.
Koro Vaka'uta reports:
The head of the meteorology division at the Ministry is Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea. Mulipola says large parts of Upolu and eastern Savai'i are particularly dry. He says people need to be cautious with their water use.
MULIPOLA AUSETALIA TITIMAEA: Usage of water will be basically for the human needs, mainly for consumption and also to look at areas of leakage and to be more saving measures in terms of showers, in terms of using containers and the like. I think the awareness campaign is really towards those areas.
Mulipola says the Ministry declared the first of four levels of drought severity because an El Nino weather system is expected to keep rain away.
MULIPOLA AUSETALIA TITIMAEA: There are signatures now that we are heading into the start of El Nino season. It's going to be strengthened in the northern hemisphere winter, which really is the beginning of next year. There has been several indications from other centres, we will be experiencing an El Nino which is a dryer part.
The Assistant Fire Commissioner Va'asiliega Ioane Iosefo says because of the weather the islands remain on high fire alert. He says his message is for people to be careful.
VA'ASILIEGA IOANE IOSEFO: Just to warn people on awareness to try to minimise the use of open fires and doing their open cooking. People being not quite aware of their cigarette butts being flicked out before being extinguished completely because that's what's been happening around with most of the fires involved the cigarette butts.
Residents have also been asked to minimise their bush burning. Our correspondent in Apia, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia explains that those on plantations have been targeted with the warning.
AUTAGAVAIA TIPI AUTAGAVAIA: This is a good time for them to clear the bush, cutting down trees and burning logs and things like that just to clear the land for new taro patches or vegetable gardens. They are being warned also because the wind is very strong as well. That's the very bad thing if we have the strong wind and fire up in the bush, you know, it really spread the whole fire.
Autagavaia says the meteorological drought declaration seems to be a precautionary announcement.
AUTAGAVAIA TIPI AUTAGAVAIA: There is very hot sunny days here and yes of course we are experiencing the drought season but according to one of the senior officers of the Samoa Water Authority I spoke to last week, this is not as bad as the drought that affecting the country in 2010 where water was rationed to most of the part of the island of Upolu, especially those families and businesses around the area.
Autagavaia says the islands had some rain last week but not enough to make a difference.
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