By Lance Polu
APIA: TUESDAY 22 JANUARY 2013: The Member of Parliament for Vaimauga West, the worst affected area by the flash floods in Decembers 2012’s Cyclone Evan, wants a study report of the vulnerability of his constituency given the unprecedented damage to private homes, national assets and businesses.
Lefau Harry Schuster was speaking in Parliament this morning during the debate of the Supplementary Budget where Government is asking for $51.5 million for the cyclone rebuilding works.
Lefau said that his constituency of Vaimauga holds some of the country’s important assets such as the Fale-ole-fe’e Hydro Power station and the Water supply to the Apia business centre and residential area.
These assets were badly damaged by the flooding as well as the Apia Park sports facilities and stadium which is being closed due to damage from debris and logs carried over miles by the force of the floods.
The former District Court judge said that businesses and individual families need to make a decision based on the vulnerability report as to whether to relocate or not. He said that major businesses such as Aggie Greys several miles away, suffered major damage from the floods.
He said that Vaimauga holds some of the best and naturally beautiful locations for tourism and very importance economic assets such as its rivers and historic locations that are very important to Samoa’s history and oral culture.
He said that while efforts are made to rebuild the damaged facilities and the natural characteristics of the area, there must be accompanying efforts as well to ensure that such major damages will not occur again in the future.
Parliament is reconvening after its end of year recess to debate the supplementary estimates. The Prime Minister reminded the House of the Opposition Leader’s ‘promise’ at last year’s session to have the estimates passed without further debate.
However Tautua Party Leader Palusalue Fa’apo 11 said that the circumstances now differ and that his party met yesterday and decided that there are crucial issues in the estimates that need to be addressed “and help the government’s work.”
This morning’s debate strayed to “complaints from people who lost everything in the cyclone and flooding” and “the inadequate relief assistance and response”.
The Prime Minister said the Opposition MPs are exploiting the situation with emotional political speeches “but we as Samoans know our people.”
He said that despite any efforts in relief work, it is human to want more.
Also tabled in Parliament this morning were the Canines Bill 2013 to control the stray dogs population and the Unit Trust Loans Bill 2013.