Red Cross prepares as Tropical Cyclone Amos bears down on Samoa

Publicado: 23 abril 2016 12:03 CET

By Corinne Ambler, IFRC

As Tropical Cyclone Amos edges closer to Samoa, the Samoa Red Cross is helping local residents to prepare for what could be challenging times ahead. On its current track, the centre of the cyclone is expected to pass across the island nation on Sunday as a Category 4 storm. The cyclone is expected to bring torrential rain, damaging winds and sea-swells.

Cyclone Amos is expected to affect most of Samoa, in particular the island of Savai’i. While there are reports of surface flooding and electricity cuts in some parts of Savaii, roads are currently open and other services unaffected. The Samoa Red Cross has moved stocks of tarpaulins for emergency shelter and other essential aid to the island in anticipation.

Samoa Red Cross secretary general Lolofie Namulauulu Tautala Mauala said the effects of the cyclone are already being felt.

“It’s been very dark all day with heavy rain and now it’s a bit windy. 50 volunteers and staff have been activated and 200 more volunteers are on standby to assist when the cyclone makes landfall,” she said.

Mrs Mauala said Samoa Red Cross has pre-positioned stocks in six sites around the country and its volunteers have been in communities giving advice to people on safeguards to take in preparation for the cyclone.

“It is expected that more than 30 volunteers will be involved in providing first aid in the community.  A team of volunteers has already contacted some regular blood donors who are willing and available to give blood if this is needed. Staff and volunteers are on standby to carry out assessments of damages once the cyclone has passed.”

In the capital Apia, five possible sites have been identified for evacuation centres and a small team of volunteers is on hand to help set up and administer the centres if required. Preparations are also being made to carry out water treatment in two locations should this be necessary.  

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has also set up an emergency task force in its Pacific office in Suva to support Samoa Red Cross and is preparing to send emergency personnel on the first available flight to Apia if needed.

Tropical Cyclone Amos will be the largest storm to hit Samoa since Cyclone Evan a Category 3 storm struck on December 13, 2012, damaging more than 1,000 homes and flooding parts of the capital Apia.

Follow @CorinneAmbler and @IfrcAsiaPacific on Twitter for updates on Cyclone Amos