In times like these, there are only a few things we can do. Stay safe, pray hard, look after our loved ones and don’t panic. Above all, our safety and that of people close to us should be our priority. At all times.
We say this because nature and its wrath is something we cannot control.
And when it comes to cyclones, many of us on these shores have witnessed the devastation they are capable of causing.
Which is why many people of this country know exactly what to do when a cyclone threatens us. And that’s precisely what happened yesterday. The place was buzzing as people were bracing for what was to come.
Right across the country, they were preparing their houses, filling up on emergency supplies and making sure nothing is left to chance.
Folks, it’s fantastic to see people taking these warnings seriously. It’s a lot better to be safe than sorry and we simply cannot be complacent when it comes to natural disasters.
The fact is that apart from Cyclone Evan, we’ve been quite blessed during the past few years. There have been a couple of occasions where big cyclones heading to Samoa had suddenly changed paths. Whether that will happen this time around, well let’s wait and see.
While this piece was being compiled last night, Special Bulletin No. 2 from the Samoa Meteorology Office arrived. It warned of a Tropical Cyclone that should be felt in Samoa this afternoon.
“Tropical Depression 07F was located 13.9 South, 175.2 West or at about 275 km West of Asau or 364 km West of Apia at 090500 UTC or 7:00 p.m. this evening,” the Bulletin reads.
“Tropical Depression 07F continues to move East North East towards Samoa at the speed of 11 knots (13 mph) and is expected to intensify into a Tropical Cyclone Category 1 in the next 6-18 hours.”
So what does this mean for today and tomorrow?
“Occasional rain with heavy falls, and few thunderstorms,” the Met Office warns. “Northwest winds of 20-30 mph gusty at times, and may increase to 45 mph early tomorrow morning (today). Combined waves and swells of 7-9 feet for Northern waters, and 8-10 feet for Southern waters.”
So what can you do? Like we said yesterday, we must remain calm and be rational in our decision making. Don’t take unneccessary risks. And in our prayers, let’s remember everyone who will be working during the next few days to ensure your safety. Keep the Police, Fire and Emergency Services Authority, Samoa Met Office, health workers at all hospitals, Disaster Management Office officials, Samoa Red Cross Society, Samoa Water Authority, Electric Power Corporation officials, Radio announcers on AM and FM and everyone else in your prayers.
May God bless Samoa!
BEFORE A CYCLONE
• Check your house for any loose material and tie down
• Check your emergency kit and fill water containers
• Ensure you know where the strongest part of the building is
• Close shutters or board-up or heavily tape all windows. Draw curtains and lock doors
• Pack an evacuation kit of warm clothes, essential medications, valuables and important papers (as well as your emergency kit)
• Trim treetops and branches well clear of any structures
• Clear the property of loose material that could blow about and possibly cause injury or damage
DURING A CYCLONE
• Listen to updates on the radio, stay inside, stay calm.
• Disconnect all electrical appliances.
• Stay inside and shelter (well clear of windows) in the strongest part of the building, i.e. cellar, internal hallway or bathroom. Keep evacuation and emergency kits with you
• If the building starts to break up, protect yourself with mattresses, rugs or blankets under a strong table or bench or hold onto a solid fixture, e.g. a water pipe
• Beware the calm ‘eye’. If the wind drops, don’t assume the cyclone is over; violent winds will soon resume from another direction. Wait for the official ‘all clear’
• Don’t go outside until officially advised it is safe
• Don’t use electrical appliances if wet
• If you have to evacuate, or did so earlier, don’t return until advised.
• Beware of damaged power lines, bridges, buildings, trees, and don’t enter floodwaters
• Heed all warnings and don’t go sightseeing
• Don’t make unnecessary telephone calls
WHAT YOU NEED IN
AN EMERGENCY KIT
• Portable battery radio
• Torch and spare batteries
• Water containers, dried or canned food & can opener
• Matches, fuel lamp, portable stove, cooking and eating equipment
• First aid kit and manual
• Tape & waterproof bags
• Store somewhere safe and handy