On September 29, 2009 an earthquake of 8.3 magnitude triggered a tsunami which devastated villages along the southern coasts of Samoa, American Samoa, and the northern islands of Tonga.
More than 4500 people were directly affected by the tsunami, with social and economic impacts affecting many thousands more. Over 3000 people were made homeless.
Oxfam is there
Oxfam’s emergency team of water and sanitation specialists and livelihoods experts arrived in Samoa immediately following the tsunami. Together with our long-term partner in Samoa, Women in Business Development (WIBDI), Oxfam helped approximately 4500 people at the peak of the response.
Oxfam continues to work with WIBDI, government officials, and other humanitarian agencies to provide safe water and sanitation and support the long term rebuilding of people's livelihoods in rural communities where many homes and farms were devastated. Over 2500 people are receiving ongoing assistance.
- Read our report 'From Tragedy to Recovery' (PDF 2MB) which details our response in Samoa one year on.
Providing safe water
|Carol Penato, 7, collects safe water from their rain-water harvesting unit supplied by Oxfam.|
Oxfam is working with local water authorities in Samoa to ensure that affected communities are set up with safe water and sanitation facilities. This includes:
- Fresh water supply through construction and supply of materials for rain-water harvesting on Manono Island and Upolu’s south coast
- Providing fresh water through water trucking and supply of permanent 11,000lt water tanks
- Providing 70 permanent tanks for new government-built houses
- Construction and repair of latrines
- Public health promotion in water conservation, sanitation and hygiene
|Nuusa Mamea, 32, plants organic watermelon seedlings that he received from Oxfam’s partner organisation in Samoa, Women in Business.|
Oxfam is working closely with its partner organisation, WIBDI, to help affected communities rebuild their livelihoods. This includes:
- Cash-for-work schemes for youth to clear land for organic vegetable and fruit planting and tank installation on Manono Island
- Distribution of seedlings for organic vegetable and fruit production
- Improving market access for cash crops
- Support for organic coconut oil production and soap production
- Training in public health promotion
- Training for WIBDI staff to provide trauma support to affected families
- Find out more about Oxfam’s Samoan partner organisation Women in Business Development
Samoa tsunami in words and pictures
Oxfam would like to thank the below companies for their contribution to our Samoa Tsunami appeal. From collecting donations in-store to donated services, all of their contributions will make a difference to the people of Samoa.
Ad Hub, Aim Proximity, Auckland Airport, Auckland City Council, Base FM, Bookabach, Catch Media, Colenso, Fairfax, Flight Centre, Flossie Media Group, iTicket, kFM, Large Design, Les Mills, Levi Stores, Mail Shop, MindFood, Mr Vintage, MSN, Mt Smart Stadium, MTV, National Business Review, North Shore City Council, NZ Herald, OfficeMax, Otago Daily Times, PropertyTalk, Rip It Up, Sky TV, Telecom, The Baby Factory, The Body Shop, The Listener, TVNZ, TV Works, Telnet, Scoop, Sella.co.nz, Surf.co.nz, Ticketmaster, Westfield Shopping, Wises.co.nz, Yahoo!Xtra.
In the wake of the Campbell Live report on questions over government aid to the Samoa tsunami, non-government organisations (NGOs) want to clarify the distinction between government aid and the aid administered through their organisations.
On this one year commemoration of the men, women and children who lost their lives in the devastating tsunami that struck Samoa and Tonga in September 2009, our thoughts are with families, friends and communities. We also extend our sympathies to the many survivors who experienced suffering and trauma.
Six weeks on from the devastating Samoa tsunami, Oxfam and its Samoan partner organisation, Women in Business, are helping affected families to rebuild their livelihoods through organic agriculture for niche export markets.