Samoa flood victims demand answers

LOGGED UP: This is the sight at Alaoa Dam today. This area is meant to be filled with water. [Photo: Kerstin Ofisa/Jasmine Netzler]

Hundreds of people in Vaimauga whose homes, properties and businesses were wiped away by flooding during Cyclone Evan want answers.

They want the Government to investigate the cause of the flood.

They say Cyclone Evan cannot be blamed entirely for the unprecedented flooding that has left them with millions worth of damage.

Many of them claim that the flooding was the result of the Electric Power Corporation’s (EPC) Alaoa Dam being left opened.

Some of them live just below the dam. They say the massive pipes couldn't contain the water and when they broke, “it created chaos.”

Nearly a month after the cyclone, the memories of what happened are still fresh.

Tiauli Lelea, 50, was in his house when the Faleole Fe’e, Maualuga, Puleilei Falls, Alavai o le Moli, and Alaoa streams that lead straight into the Alaoa channel burst.

“I’ve lived here all my life and there hasn’t been anything like this before,” he said.

“There’s only one reason why those villages were wiped out by the water and I think EPC didn’t close the Alaoa Dam.They left it opened causing the water from the rivers that feed the dam to spill straight to areas below.”

Mr.Leleasaid the broken pieces of pipes show how strong the water flow was.

“The water didn’t crawl in slowly,” he said. “It came at a such a speed that we didn't have time to react. The flooding only lasted about twenty minutes.”

So how does he know that the dam was left opened?at


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