Health fears after Gita

By Nefertiti Matatia and Ivamere Nataro ,

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HEALTH CONCERNS: After the flood, Rudolf Aukuso is worried about the health problems that will follow.

HEALTH CONCERNS: After the flood, Rudolf Aukuso is worried about the health problems that will follow. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Rudolf Aukuso, of Ma’agao, is worried about the health of his family members.

His concern comes after the wake of Tropical Cyclone Gita and floodwaters that ravaged most families in his area on Friday night and Saturday morning. 

Yesterday, Mr. Aukuso shared with the Samoa Observer that he lives with his two sisters, parents, three relatives and six young children. 

According to the 30-year-old, the children usually get sick after any natural disaster, especially flooding. 

One look at his surrounding and you can tell that his compound is the junkyard for all rubbish swept by the water current from houses and shops located at the top of the Vaisigano riverbank. 

“We can’t cook any food because there’s no water and my main concern is the six kids who live with him, there are so many flies and the children get sick from flu and other illnesses related to the flood” he said.

“You can see in front of our house, large deposits of mud and rubbish are usually left there, and this is another reason why the health of my family members is at stake.” 

Living in a family with all its members unemployed is another added burden should there be a disease outbreak in his area, especially when it’s prone to flooding. 

“That’s another concern. How can we help the sick in our family after a flood when we’re unemployed? There should be some form of assistance for families like us. 

“I did not expect the cyclone to come, there was not enough awareness and warnings over the radio and television and the power cut affected all communication lines.”

Mr. Aukuso’s only source of income, plantation, was ruined by the floodwaters. 

“I am thankful to be alive, all my crops are ruined, especially my entire plantation, which is my only source of income and daily food supply for my family. 

“Now we still don’t have any water supply and electricity and I am hoping that through God’s grace, everything will fall into place.” 

In the future, he recommends more timely warnings regarding any natural disasters. 

He is grateful to the Disaster Management Organisation that checked on his family after the cyclone.   

On Saturday, the Director General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri said they are doing everything they can to help victims of the cyclone.

He is also calling on parents to ensure the safety of their children by boiling drinking water and making sure they are not out swimming in muddied puddles and dirty rivers.

“This type of behavior should be discouraged,” he said. “The young people shouldn’t be swimming in this unhygienic water. The water is contaminated.

He also asked members of the public to boil water before drinking and for cooking.  

“We also encourage everyone to be vigilant in terms of cleanliness, please wash your hands before eating at any given time.” 

Leausa reminds members of the public who are sick to please keep their medication in a safe place and to continue to taking the medicine as prescribed. 

“For all patients with high blood pressure, diabetes and hypertension, please continue taking your medication and do not forget. Please know that our main hospital as well as the clinics in the villages are fully functioning.”

According to the Director General, members of the public need to stay indoors to avoid any unnecessary injuries.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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