Delayed completion of the Vaisigano River retaining wall cost Leone residents dearly


The Vaisigano River retaining wall under construction across from the Sheraton Hotel

By Rula Su’a -Vaai

APIA, SAMOA –FRIDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2018: Delays in completing the retaining concrete wall built on the banks of the Vaisigano River to protect from flooding have cost Leone residents Cyclone Gita damage.

Leaumoana Ola Poulala, a resident of Leone told Talamua that he and his family cannot wait for the wall to be completed, but it is unfortunate that it was not completed before the cyclone.

“Actually, the water flowed above the wall, and we believe that if the wall was finished, there would not be much damage to some family houses.”

Leaumoana pointed out while the majority of his village support the building of the wall, there are a few families who objected to the project.

“There are some families who are against the project, as you can see, construction works stopped infront of their house and then it continued when it passed their house. That’s where the water came in and flooded most of the homes.”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi told the media that if some families in the area have not protested to the building of the retaining wall, they would have not suffered from the flooding.

“They have blocked the construction works.”

The Sheraton on the banks of the Vaisigano River at the height of the flooding

Leaumoana added, “I’m not sure why they are against it as there were consultations and meetings that took place before the project started, and most of the Leone villagers signed and agreed for the work to go ahead.”

Leaumoana said that during the consultations, there were concerns expressed like the wall is too high and it would block the cool breeze and their view of the other side of the river, but all was well explained by the officials.

The Vaisuai family who fully support to the project said that despite the water going into their house, it was not bad as cyclone Evan in 2012.

The areas of Vaisigano, Leone, Lelata and around Apia were heavily affected by flooding during Cyclone Gita and many were evacuated from their homes for safety.