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Flood warnings continue for Upolu and Savaii

The government agency responsible for coordinating disaster risk management programd has issued a warning to all members of the Samoa public.The warning from the Disaster Management Office (DMO) comes as the Samoa Meteorological Service predicts more rain, flooding and landslides over the coming days.“Please do not allow children to play in the floodwaters,” Filomena Nelson says. “They can be mixed up with all sorts of contaminants and debris. Also, please avoid the storm drains – we don’t want any more deaths.”Ms. Nelson is the Principal Management Disaster Officer for the Disaster Management Office.During an interview with the Sunday Samoan yesterday, Ms. Nelson urged members of the public to take extra care.Although the weather had calmed down considerably yesterday, she urges people to avoid the receding floodwaters as they can be contaminated with toxins and littered with debris.“Floodwaters may have picked up sewage and chemicals from roads, plantations, factories and storage buildings.Spoiled food, flooded cosmetics and medicine must be disposed of as they will make you sick.”Ms. Nelson also urged to \always boil water before drinking as during flooding water supply is usually dirty.”The DMO says people should ensure electrical appliances are not used straight away.\Dry them first then check if they are safe to use. Check gas valves for potential leakages, do not smoke or use candles, lanterns or open flames unless you are sure the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.”Ms. Nelson said the DMO emergency centre worked throughout the rough weather days during the past few days – liaising with the relevant authorities to assist people during the severe weather.“We received calls for evacuation from families in flooded areas, mainly from villages surrounding the Vaisigano River, who didn’t have cars,” she said.“So we coordinated with the Fire and Police services to move people out. The evacuees are now being housed with relatives.“We also received a lot of calls from families to have trees cut down near houses. That was done from yesterday onwards. And the DMO provided tarpaulins to families in need.”Ms. Nelson said her office is monitoring the situation through the Samoa Meteorological Service (SMS).