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Samoan PM encourages 'self-help' in cyclone clean-up

Thursday January 3, 2013 - 09:53 EDT

Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa'ilele, is calling on survivors of Cyclone Evan to start rebuilding their lives, instead of waiting for help.

The cyclone destroyed homes and businesses, and killed at least five people.

The Samoan Prime Minister has told local media people should adopt a 'self-help' attitude.

"There are other means of rebuilding houses that were destroyed,� he said.

"We are a nation that does not rely on people for help, we have families to help."

Samoan media says Mr Tuilaepa's government is yet to finalise assistance for families, because it is still assessing the damage.

An Australian-based group which trains farmers in sustainable practices has been running an appeal to help Samoa's farmers get back on track following the disaster.

Mike Smith, Principal of the Organic Matters Foundation, has told Radio Australia's Samoa and Fiji suffered a lot of agricultural damage.

"There's a lot of things like green houses that were supplying seedlings and tomatoes and things like that on a commercial basis that just got completely wiped out," he said.

"Plantations of papaya and banana have just simply disappeared, so it's back into a re-planting phase.

"One of the biggest problems with taro plantations and things like that is that a lot of the emphasis has been placed on imported food in recent times and a lot of the food doesn't get planted anymore, so the resilience is not there - so what we've been trying to do over the years is build that resilience back in so that we can grow enough food so that if we do have natural events like this we can mitigate their effect somewhat."

Meanwhile, Samoa's electric power corporation has asked residents to use electricity only for essential needs, because its capacity is limited after damage caused by Cyclone Evan.

It says the shortages will be resolved when new generators arrive next week.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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