LALOMANU, SAMOA: The bodies keep turning up. Four more were found at Lalomanu, the worst-hit area of the coast yesterday morning, and in the afternoon two more were recovered.The six bodies included two babies while a skeleton was unearthed when the waters scoured out the site of an established grave.With remaining bodies deteriorating rapidly in the hot weather, emergency workers donned masks, gloves and breathing apparatus. A victim identification team was flown into Samoa from New Zealand. Tony Hill, the Western Samoa Commissioner for Fire and Emergency Services, said the search would continue today to avoid the possibility of victims lying undiscovered.Two days after the waves tore through island settlements, fear lies just below the surface. At 11am yesterday Sydney time, word spread along the waterfront of an earthquake off Tonga and that a second tsunami was on its way. A horde of people, including adults with babies in arms , packed into every available vehicle, and made the rush for high ground although no tsunami alert had sounded.Saofaigo Talameli, 17, returned with eight other family members to camp under a tarpaulin at exactly the place where their house had stood on the waterfront. Hearing about the possibility of a second tsunami, she looked to the hills where the family had sprinted before, but in the end she stayed.Away from the bloated corpses, the coconut palm groves of Western Samoa might seem like an eden. It has become anything but for Lauvao Paulo, a 34-year-old farmer from the village of Smalamna.When the tsunami struck, Mr Paulo was one of 15 living in a waterfront house. Among them were five children as young as a year old and an aunt with one leg.With barely minutes to spare, the family evacuated, the adults carrying young children. They sprinted for the high ground, but the aunt, Sala Salogo, had to make the best of it on crutches.But she was not fast enough. The wave, between four and six metres high, which struck the south coast of the main island, Opolu, swept her up and drowned her.Ms Salogo was just one of Western Samoa’s confirmed dead as the official death toll surged towards 100 and Mr Paulo and his extended family have joined the thousands of survivors sheltering under tarpaulins.Like most of the tsunami survivors, Mr Paulo’s family had no insurance cover and are depending on handouts of food, water and clothing. The local priest came to pray with Mr Paulo and bring him comfort.Members of the family are having to go to the nearest coconut groves for their ablutions. Those interviewed expected they might have to live in these conditions for months.In many of the hundreds of houses that were flattened, there were anywhere from 10 to 20 occupants. Tolina Aaulai was at home with 16 other people. Timoteo Isaako, 27, the mother of five children, was in a house with 13 others. These large groups lost everything and have nothing to fall back on.Ioni Isaako, 30, whose extended family was sharing accommodation with a family of Mormans, agreed that their fate would have to be decided by others.The relief effort, aided by timely plane loads of essential supplies, was in full operation yesterday. The Southern coast was a hive of activity as powerlines were re-established and trucks, graders and excavators were put into continuous use.An Orion P3 surveillance aircraft from New Zealand flew missions off the coast and a police patrol boat continues a search for floating bodies.Onshore, scrawled across a sedan that had been ruined by the tsunami, were the words: ”Lest we forget – life goes on.”
Nanjing Night Net

Author

admin