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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Samoa/Tonga Tsunami Update 4

Additional information about the effects of the tsunami have been reported in OCHA's Situation Report(SITREP)#9.

Samoa/Tonga • Tsunami
Situation Report No. 9
Date: 14 October 2009

This report was issued by OCHA New York, with inputs from OCHA Fiji and the OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. It covers the period from 11 October to 14 October. The next report will be issued around

16 October.

The official death toll is 143, with five people missing and 310 injured. The most updated figures, which are based on combined data from the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Samoa Red Cross, suggest that approximately 4,500 people have been directly affected by the tsunami, most of who have been displaced. However, this figure is assumed to be the lower estimate since the assessment is still on-going to completely
cover the affected areas.

The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) reported that urgently needed relief items include building and gardening tools; food and water storage containers; hurricane lamps; mosquito nets; building materials; cooking utensils; cooking stoves; radios and batteries; tables and chairs; school furniture; and bedding. New Zealand navy vessel HMNZS Canterbury is expected to arrive in Apia tentatively in the morning of 16 October with relief materials. Key infrastructure and lifeline utilities have been restored, such as communications, roads, water and power.

The humanitarian response is continuing, but early-recovery planning is now underway. The Early Recovery Framework will be submitted to the Government on 15 October.

Official reports indicate that nine people died and seven were seriously injured as a result of the tsunami. The Government estimates the total cost of damage at Tonga pa’anga 18.2 million (approximately $9.5 million). It was reported that 89 out of 225 houses on the island were totally destroyed and 56 were damaged. Public buildings were also destroyed, and water and sanitation systems seriously damaged.

The Government of Tonga has provided emergency relief with assistance from Red Cross, religious groups, private Tongan citizens and FRANZ (an Australia, New Zealand and France agreement to respond to disasters in the Pacific). Emergency-relief needs have been almost fully met. However, the Government has identified the following needs to support the affected population until early-recovery initiatives are implemented: water supply; refuse collection; rubbish and debris removal; health, including the provision of a field hospital; food aid; school materials; insecticide and disinfectant chemicals; and storage sheds.

The Government is preparing an early-recovery plan that is expected to be ready later this week. The early- recovery phase is estimated at Tonga pa’anga 14,745,000 (approximately $7.7 million).


• The death toll in Samoa is 143. Five people are still missing and 310 are injured.
• Approximately 4,500 people have been directly affected by the tsunami in Samoa.
• In Samoa, urgently needed relief items include building and gardening tools; food and water storage containers; hurricane lamps; mosquito nets; building materials; cooking utensils; cooking stoves; radios and batteries; tables and chairs; bedding; and school furniture.
• Key infrastructure and lifeline utilities have been restored in Samoa. However, lack of sanitation facilities remains an issue and support is needed to ensure full coverage of sanitation facilities. The humanitarian response continues in Samoa, but early-recovery planning is now underway. The Early Recovery Framework will be submitted to the Government of Samoa on 15 October.
• In Tonga, the estimated total cost of damage is Tongan pa’anga 18.2 million (approximately US$9.5 million). The early-recovery phase is estimated at Tongan pa’anga 14,745,000(approximately $7.7 million).

II. Situation Overview
The mission of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is to mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors.

Initial Assessments

• An International Tsunami Survey team has arrived in Apia. The team is coordinating with representatives of the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission and UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission to align their work with existing data collected during assessments conducted by various clusters.
• Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will send a team to Samoa next week to conduct a needs-assessment survey for reconstruction and rehabilitation.

• Assessment teams were dispatched to Niuatoputapu on 7 and 8 October. Team members included officials from various government ministries, AusAID and the United Nations Resident Coordinator. The assessment identified gaps in humanitarian assistance and early recovery, and rehabilitation and reconstruction needs. The findings will feed into the Government’s Early Recovery Plan.


• The DHL disaster response team data-entry sheet was circulated to all logistics cluster participants. Individual organizations are expected to begin entering data on logistics spreadsheets for compilation.
• A custom liaison officer confirmed that the concessionary customs privilege for disaster-relief goods is not limited to the “30 Days State of Emergency”. A specified end date is yet to be confirmed.
• AusAID will provide the commercial shipping schedule to all logistics cluster partner organizations.

• The French MV Revi navy vessel departed to Niuatoputapu with additional relief supplies. The French CASA aircrafts also arrived in Tonga with further assistance. A new vehicle is needed to ensure reliable transportation. Additional French patrol boats will arrive in the next few weeks for assistance.
• Distribution of relief supplies is well organized. Some relief goods are still in Nuku’Alofa ready for shipment to Niuatoputapu.

Emergency Shelter/Non-Food Items (NFIs)

• IFRC/Oxfam reported that several schools are accommodating displaced persons and need to be vacated before schools commence. One school is accommodating almost 300 displaced persons.
• The Samoa Red Cross is procuring 500 sets of three different types of “Getting Started” household kits. These include items such as wire cutters, towels and string; community tools comprising a cement mixer, ladder, wheelbarrow, chainsaw, rivet machine and fuel cans; and 500 sets of Demolition and Rebuild Kit items, such as hammers, bush knives, spades, axes, shovels and saws.
• World Vision has been working with the Samoa Disaster Management Office to distribute NFIs for 2,500 beneficiaries. These include 10-litre collapsible jerry cans; 32,000 water-purification tablets; 497 family hygiene kits; 99 baby hygiene kits; 998 tropical blankets; 998 mosquito nets; and 497 tarpaulins and equipment for sanitary facilities. Most NFIs have already been distributed to the affected
• HMNZS Canterbury is expected to arrive in Apia on 16 October. It carries equipment and supplies such as telephone poles; electrical supplies; water pipe supplies; plastic containers; construction tools; and donated items.


• School has recommenced. The Hihifo primary-school building was partly damaged, but the Vaipoa and Falehau primary-school buildings were unaffected. The tsunami adversely affected students preparing for exams, especially in primary schools. Therefore, the director of education advised that Form 5 students will sit their exams in November. However, all Class 6 pupils in Niuatoputapu will not sit for exams, but will
receive a compassionate pass to secondary school next year.
• School supplies and materials are still needed, as most students lost everything in the tsunami including uniforms, stationery and school materials. These will be procured from the Emergency Fund by the Ministry of Education and shipped to the island next week.

Emergency Telecoms

• Land-line telephone communications in Niuatoputapu are fully restored. Tonga Communications Corporation is trying to establish a temporary mobile service in Niuatoputapu to enable communication. The Ministry of Information and Communications has received satellite telephones for people to call their families. The phones will be transported to the island on the next available flight.

Food and Nutrition

• Only limited stocks of agricultural hand tools are available. Garden tools are urgently needed.

• Crops and livestock are reportedly mostly intact. A number of boats were lost.


• MoH has completed a thorough health assessment and is currently analysing the data.
• MoH has started water quality and health monitoring for a potential outbreak of epidemic diseases in the affected areas.
• New Zealand reports confirm there have been no reported outbreaks of any disease or community-wide infections. However, this will continue to be a key focus for medical teams as long as there are clusters of displaced families with limited sanitation and hygiene capability.

• A field hospital is needed.


• United Nations Children’s Fund and Save the Children are working in partnership with local counterparts, especially the MoH, and Ministries of Women and Education, to create safe spaces for children including in schools and communities.
• The Samoa Red Cross has mobilized 30 volunteers who are consistently providing psychosocial support in parallel to relief distribution.
• The Samoa Red Cross has received 55 requests to help restore family links.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

• The WASH cluster chaired by the Government is now called “Samoa Water Sector – Post-Tsunami Support”.
• Water supplies to all affected areas have been resumed. Stand pipes have been installed at regular intervals to facilitate access to water.
• Six water tanks provided by the EU are installed in strategic locations for the affected population. Bluebird offered four water tanks on loan. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also donated 10 1,000-litre water tanks.
• The Samoa Red Cross is procuring an additional 54 water tanks (nine of 5,000 litre; 15 of 3,000 litre; 30 of 1,000 litre). It plans to place them in the area from Lalomanu to Saleamua.
• Lack of sanitation facilities remains an issue. The Latter-day Saints Church is building basic pit latrines in selected areas. The Public Health Department is constructing temporary toilets. Further support is needed to ensure a full coverage of sanitation facilities.
• On 10 October, IFRC and Oxfam conducted an assessment for WASH needs in five schools in the tsunami-affected areas. These are the undamaged schools that require additional water and sanitation facilities to accommodate additional school children. The schools plan to host children up to six months until the damaged/destroyed schools are rehabilitated.
• At this moment, identified gaps include the need to empty septic tanks and dispose of solid waste.

• The water supply is fully restored. However, water may be needed in the future. Sanitation and clean water is a concern. MoH is assessing the required assistance.

Early Recovery
• Mr. Jordan Ryan, the UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, visited Tonga and Samoa last week. He reinforced the United Nations’ commitment to early recovery and rehabilitation efforts, and underscored the need for the United Nations system to rapidly and smoothly shift to the early-recovery phase. UNDP has committed $500,000 for the tsunami response.
During the mission, Mr. Ryan visited the affected communities and was impressed with the Government’s timely and effective response.
• An Early Recovery Framework draft will be available on 15 October for presentation to the Government. The final consultation with Inter-Agency Standing Committee members and cluster lead agencies will take place on 14 October.

• The Government is developing the Early Recovery Plan, which is expected to be available later this week.

• Clusters are operational and planning their response and recovery actions with their Government counterparts.
• Cluster information, maps and post-disaster aerial images are available on the website created by UNDAC:

• Donor response to the disaster has been positive. New Zealand will commit New Zealand dollars 1.5 million (approximately $1.1 million) towards recovery and reconstruction efforts, as announced by the New Zealand Foreign Minister, Mr. Murray McCully, on 14 October.

All humanitarian partners, including donors and recipient agencies, are encouraged to inform the OCHA Financial Tracking Service of cash and in-kind contributions by sending an email to:

OCHA Pacific: Mr. Peter Muller, Regional Disaster Response Adviser
Email: Tel: +679 331 6761 Mobile: +679 999 1664

OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific: Ms. Yindee Lertcharoenchok, Humanitarian Affairs Analyst
(Disaster Response), Email: Tel: +66 (0) 2288 2437

OCHA New York: Ms. Akiko Yoshida, Associate Humanitarian Affairs Officer
Email: Tel: +1 212 963 1149
IV. Coordination
V. Funding
VI. Contact

News reports can be found on Radio New Zealand International, TVNZ and on Relief Web.

APCEDI will continue to monitor this situation as more details become clear.

Kevin Vang
APCEDI Coordinator

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