Samoa's Prime Minister in grief as nation mourns
By Cherelle Jackson
APIA – Samoa's Prime Minister Hon. Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi was near tears last night as he addressed his nation.
"The winds have uttered their strength, earth has spoken their grief and the wave has scattered it's strength," Tuilaepa said in Chiefly language.
In his first address to the nation, Tuilaepa spoke clearly and barely looked at the three cameras present, he was visibly sad and tired.
Tuilaepa said that as of the time of his address there were 110 fatalities and 145 injured.
"The Police, Government workers and volunteers are still searching through the rubble for our missing friends and relatives," he said.
The Cabinet Ministers visited the South Eastern Coast of Upolu today, and the island of Manono to gauge the extent of the damage to the land and the lives lost.
The Prime Minister thanked Non Government Organisations, the volunteers, the business community and emergency relief workers.
"I would also like to pay special mention to the international media and especially the local media whom without their help, awareness of this tragedy would not have been wide spread," Tuilaepa said.
Overwhelming relief assistances both financially and in-kind have been received from overseas countries through the local High Commissioners and Embassies such as Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, Germany, China, Tokelau and many others, as well as Samoa's own local communities, i.e. Church Organisations, Business sectors, Non-Governmental Organisations and Individuals.
Mobilization of the relief distributions particularly in the way of tents, tarpaulins, food stuffs, clothings and water is being managed by the Disaster Advisory Committee under the authorization of the National Disaster Council.
The National Disaster Committee has estimated the recovery costs at $96 million tala.
Tuilaepa ended his address by encouraging prayer especially from Church leaders.
"Lastly I thank those who reside in the affected areas, your strength and courage is an inspiration to the nation."
Tuilaepa in Chiefly language acknowledged the power of nature and sought the blessings of God.
He travels with his Cabinet Ministers to Savaii today.