Samoa – Tropical Cyclone Gita Causes Landslides and Flooding

Days of heavy rainfall brought by Tropical Cyclone Gita have caused flooding and landslides in Samoa. The storm dumped massive amounts of rain from 07 to 11 February. Some areas recorded over 600 mm in a 24 hour period.

Strong winds from the storm also caused wind and coastal damage. In a statement of 10 February, the government of Samoa said that no injuries or deaths were reported. Around 250 people evacuated their homes and stayed in shelters during the storm.

Electricity, communications and water supply has been cut in some areas, mostly as a result of wind damage.

Samoa’s Land Transport Authority reported landslides had blocked roads in Solosolo and Saleapaga. Flood water blocked roads in several areas, including Matautu, Faatoia Apia, Savai’i and Afega, according to Land Transport Authority.

Floods in Samoa after Tropical Cyclone Gita in February 2018. Photo: Land Transport Authority
Floods in Samoa after Tropical Cyclone Gita in February 2018. Photo: Land Transport Authority
Floods in Samoa after Tropical Cyclone Gita in February 2018. Photo: Land Transport Authority

American Samoa

In neighbouring American Samoa, the storm also caused extensive damage to power, water and telecommunications. Homes have been damaged and and schools and businesses shut down. No fatalities have been reported. A state of emergency has been declared.

Tonga and Fiji

The EU’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) said that “GITA is forecast to pass near or over the islands of Eua (4,900 people) and Tongatapu (74,600 people, the most populous island of Tonga) on 12 February as an intense Tropical Cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 210-220 km/h. It is then forecast to pass south of Ona-I Lau island (Fiji) on 13 February. Very strong winds heavy rains and storm surge could affect these islands as well as Ha’apai and Vava’u group of Islands (Tonga).”

Global Disasters Alerts and Coordination System (GDACS) has issued a red alert for GITA in Tonga, as the cyclone can have a high humanitarian impact based on strong winds, affected population and their vulnerability.

The government of Tonga has declared a state of emergency. Evacuation centres have been set up in Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai and ‘Eua.

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