Fiataua Loto in front of house
We offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to the Samoan tsunami relief project. Please take a moment to watch our video at www.microdreams.org/blog to meet some of the tsunami survivors that you helped.
With the US$4,726.07 raised on Global Giving, plus additional outside funds, we were able to meet our fundraising goal and provide relief packages to 148 Samoan families. Each of these families lost their home or suffered major household or family losses in the tsunami. They are truly deserving of and grateful for the assistance provided. Additionally, 390 families benefited from our "Cash for Work" projects and many more from our calamity loans. Thank you for making this possible.
With funding received from Global Giving, SPBD determined to get immediate and helpful aid out to existing loan clients who were the most severely devastated by the tsunami. Beginning on October 5, 2009, relief packages were distributed to 148 identified SPBD members in villages throughout Samoa. Each relief package consisted of the following:
Items Per Family
Rice 1 sack (20lbs. each)
Canned fish 1 box (24 pcs.)
Bush knife 1 pc.
Bucket with lid 1 pc.
Cups 12 pcs.
Plates 6 pcs
Spoons 6 pcs.
6 L bottled water 4 bottles
Mosquito coils 1 box (12pcs)
Matches 1 box (10 pcs)
Toothbrush 4 pcs
Toothpaste 3 pcs
Wash basin 1 pc.
Additionally, SPBD distributed WST$150 to each of these 148 existing female microfinance clients whose houses were destroyed completely, or who sustained severe losses to property or family members in 26 centers. SPBD coordinated its work with the Samoan national government and chaired the UN-led Inter-Agency Special Committee (IASC) for Early Recovery cluster to ensure that it did not duplicate the work of other agencies.
After assisting with basic humanitarian needs like food and water, SPBD focused its attention on economic development. From October to December 2009, SPBD completed a very successful “Cash for Work” program in 15 tsunami-affected villages. Locals identified and carried out village clean up and reconstruction projects while SPBD paid them for up to two weeks of work and provided basic tools. 390 families received direct wages for their work while hundreds more benefited indirectly from the results of “Cash for Work” projects including rebuilt sea walls, safer and cleaner villages and reenergized local economies.
Although the worst is now past, the Samoan reconstruction will take years. Total structural and economic damage is estimated at US$104 million. Some losses can never be replaced. SPBD will continue to help Samoan families rebuild by financing micro-enterprise creation, home improvement and childhood education.
Survivor Story – Ruta Sao
Ruta Sao lives in Saleapaga, a coastal village that was devastated by the tsunami. Thirteen of SPBD’s borrowers in Saleapaga lost their homes. The village can now be found spread apart in the bushy outgrowth in the hills, where some land was cleared for plantations. Ruta set up her tarp next to her plantation, a quarter of a mile away from the other plantations.
Because she was so far away from the beach, Ruta did not receive any aid until two days after the tsunami. It was only after driving around and asking villagers that SPBD staff were able to find her. Two of her children survived, but Ruta lost four children, ages 6, 2, 2, and 1 month, to the tsunami. She plans to rebuild her home inland, away from the beach.
Survivor Story – Fiataua Loto
Fiataua Loto is a 31-year old mother of three whose house on Manono Island was unfortunate enough to be located a few feet from the shore. Before the tsunami, her newly-renovated home was in an idyllic spot, with the Pacific as a backyard. But during the tsunami it was reduced to rubble. Her fishing nets and canoes also washed away. Fishing was Fiataua’s main source of income, and she was typically able to save WST 100 per week. She estimates that it will cost WST 20,000 to rebuild her house. She will receive some funding for reconstruction from the Samoan government’s Early Recovery Framework and additional financing from SPBD.
Though Fiataua has experienced a heavy loss, her spirit remains. “I’m angry at the wave, sad that I lost my house, but thankful that I have my three kids and family. I won’t forget what happened, but it isn’t going to change the way I live.”
Thank you for helping women like Ruta and Fiataua. Please send us feedback and let us know what you think. You can continue to support our work in Samoa by contributing today at www.microdreams.org.
Fiataua Loto receiving aid
Ruta Sao with Family