Tsunami-hit Samoa braces for cyclone season | Pacific Beat

Tsunami-hit Samoa braces for cyclone season

Tsunami-hit Samoa braces for cyclone season

Updated 15 February 2012, 13:53 AEDT

A week after the Pacific island nation of Samoa held a national day of mourning to remember those killed in the country's tsunami disaster, the clean-up operation is ongoing and so is the heartache for the families who lost loved ones.

Locals in Samoa say food aid and donated clothing is reaching them, but they're desperately short of building materials as the country prepares for another tough time: the start of the cyclone season.

Presenter: Kerri Ritchie, New Zealand correspondent

Speaker: Keni Lesa, Editor, Samoan Observer; Joe Annandale, widower

Ritchie: Samoa is trying to rebuild and recover. But the tsunami took the country's most precious resource: its people. And also stole its main earner: tourism. Keni Lesa is the editor of the Samoan Observer. He was one of the first journalists to reach the worst-hit village of Lalomanu after the tsunami struck.

Lesa: All the pressure, you can sense people are tired, they are exhausted. It is starting to take its toll. The tents aren't going to stand over when the cyclones start.

Ritchie: When I was there a week ago I didn't see much aid getting through?

Lesa: It is now. But the best aid is building materials. We are building up to the cyclone season. I think there has been plenty of clothes, and some counselling perhaps.

Ritchie: As a journalist who lives there, you've heard so many sad stories.

Lesa: To be quite honest personally I'm tired of hearing them cause they just continue. We've got a job to do. We will keep doing it. A lot of the journalists there will. I was there on the scene . . . the memories . . . I couldn't sleep and eat. We are so grateful for the help

Ritchie: You lost people in your family?

Lesa: This country is like a family. We're all related. My wife's family lost people. It has brought people together. A lot closer. It's renewed this sense of belonging.

Ritchie: Joe Annandale's wife Tui was killed in the tsunami. She was washed away after staying behind to make sure all the tourists staying at their Sinalei Resort had got out. A week on from the day his country stopped to remember his wife and more than a 140 others, Joe Annandale is trying to rebuild his business, and his life, piece by piece.

Annandale: I thought: 'how am I going to survive this?'. And the only reason is my wife and this is what you call deep deep love.

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