By Angela Ford
Caritas emergency response teams in the Pacific are preparing for emergency relief as one of the most powerful cyclones to hit Samoa in 20 years devastates Apia.
Cyclone Evan made landfall on Thursday 13 December, with winds up to 160 km per hour. At least two people have died, and many are missing.
Samoa has declared a state of disaster with widespread structural damage to outlying buildings, homes and critical infrastructure. Locals have been left without power and food shortages are possible.
Caritas Samoa report that flooding in Apia is widespread, powerlines and trees are down and many homes are destroyed. Flooding is the major cause for concern in the short-term, with water levels up to 8ft in areas. Continue reading
CCUSA Emergency Response Team in American Samoa
The South Pacific region has been devastated by both earthquakes and tsunamis. Catholic Social Services in Pago Pago is responding to the overwhelming needs of the residents of the U.S. territory of American Samoa.
Catholic Charities USA (a Caritas member in the USA) has reached out to the Bishop of Pago Pago and will support his diocesan efforts to provide humanitarian relief for the victims of this disaster.
Peter Bendinelli, Caritas Samoa
When you see flatbed trucks coming into the town with dead bodies on the back… I mean I’ve seen this on television before in different parts of the world, but never I expected to see it here in my lifetime in Samoa.
There are obviously bodies that haven’t been found and you know, you don’t know where to begin. The first thing is to make sure that all the bodies have been found. There are still quite a few missing unfortunately and that’s very hard for people, not knowing whether their family is dead or alive or where they are, so most people are searching for them right now.
That’s part of the shock: a mother or a brother or a father or a sister not being here to mourn the loss of a very close family member is very hard for a Samoan to accept. Continue reading