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Samoa: After the wave

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COMMENTS

9 October 2009 14:54

Samoa holds a national day of mourning today to remember the people it lost in the terrible tragedy of the tsunami last week. The Samoans have demonstrated the best of Pacific resilience, with determination to rebuild after the disaster. Despite the damage to the pristine tourist destinations along the south coast, promoting tourism, which makes up about one quarter of Samoa’s GDP, remains a high priority for the government and people of Samoa.

While the islands of the South Pacific believe themselves to be isolated from the rest of the world, the tsunami has shown that the world can and does embrace the Pacific in times of trouble. Emergency aid has been forthcoming from traditional partners Australia and New Zealand but also from Japan, the Europe Commission, the US and China. The French Government was quick to deploy assistance from its territories of New Caledonia and French Polynesia, as part of the tripartite FRANZ agreement, under which France, Australia and New Zealand cooperate to respond to natural disasters in the Pacific Islands region.

It would be good to see a united international effort to help reconstruction in Samoa. The cost of reconstruction has been estimated at A$135 million. While emergency assistance has to be the priority right now, a quick reconstruction process will help Samoa recover its position as one of the shining examples of successful and stable economies in the region. A united effort from donors beyond the deployment of emergency aid would send an important signal about the world's confidence in Samoa.

Individuals can of course also help – through donations and continuing to visit Samoa. Information about how to help can be obtained from AusAID's website.

Photo by Flickr user jborsboom, used under a Creative Commons license.

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