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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

As Apia Floods, Gale Warning For All Samoa Issued
Towns ‘devastated’ by flooding last Friday

By Niccola Hazelman-Siona

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 2, 2013) – The Meteorology Division has issued a gale warning for all of Samoa, as a "developing low pressure system" is likely to bring more rain in the next few days.

The warning was issued last night in the Meteorology Office’s Special Bulletin No. 1. The Special Bulletin also warned about damaging swells. It also maintained the advisories for flood and landslides.

According to the report, the low pressure was located northwest of Fiji islands yesterday.

"On its current track, it is expected to intensify to the southwest of Samoa within the next 24-48 hours. Expected wind over Samoa of 20-30 knots or 25-35 mph for the next 24 hours, increasing to 30-40 knots or 35-45 mph within the next 48 hours.

"Heavy rain and damaging swell also associated with this developing Low Pressure system."

The warning is not good news.

Lelata and Vaisigano were not the only villages devastated by flooding yesterday. The Apia Township, Fugalei, Saleufi and Taufusi were also affected quite severely.

Weekend shoppers struggled to move through the water as they tried to avoid oncoming vehicles and massive ditches nearby. For children, they saw the opportunity to bring out their makeshift paddleboats.

But others could only watch on and try to keep dry and warm.

Many businesses in the town area closed early. Workers labored in the afternoon with sandbags to try and stop water from running through.

By 4pm Friday, Apia was virtually a ghost town.

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