APIA: MONDAY: 24 DECEMBER 2012: Two weeks out from Cyclone Evan’s devastation, half the country will not switch on Christmas lights as there still no electricity. But it has been a bumper day of last minute shopping bringing unusual long queues and roadblocks of both traffic and shoppers.
The electricity supply is still insecure to the main business centre.
Even at the PMs office this morning, the electricity had faded then went off twice while the PM was receiving a delegation from StarKist, American Samoa that presented donation of 6 pellets of canned fish and US$10,000 towards the cyclone victims and relief work.
The company is expecting that many of its workers, 86% are from Samoa, will not hurry back to work as they help with the clean up of their families. The American Samoan Government has allowed five days full pay for those from Samoa working in the territory to help with rehabilitation after the cyclone.
But the last minute shopping rush in Apia, had not only been Christmas related and food but alot of building materials. Several families had relatives from New Zealand and Australia now in Samoa for long planned family reunions. The reunions will now focus mainly on cleaning up and rebuilding.
Rental car companies report cars are all out. Which explains the added traffic and road blocks throughout today as extra traffic is on the road with sweaty and pinkish faces and feet of relatives from overseas riding the back of utility trucks trying to put up with the heat.
Blaring Christmas music of all sorts fill the streets of Apia as vendors bring mostly their made in China and Taiwan Christmas wares right on the street.
At least when they all go home for the church services tonight and the celebrations that follow, the spirit is still there even without electricity and reticulated water supplies. At least there is rain every now and then.
Its another Christmas and New Years celebrations with a difference as Samoa remains vulnerable to cyclones and other major natural
disasters that do not come cheap with a $300 million bill for Cyclone Evan.
At least we can say to the super powers whose actions have and continued to cause us to suffer, to act now as we all have to address climate change, its impact and response together.