WHO provides immediate health sector response to damage caused by tropical cyclone Evan in Samoa

APIA, SAMOA, 18 DECEMBER 2012 - The World Health Organization (WHO) country office in Samoa joined other bilateral and multisectoral organizations in undertaking an initial rapid assessment of the damage caused by tropical cyclone Evan that hit Samoa on 13 December 2012.

WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo approved the release of funds from the Regional Director's Development Programme for immediate health sector response to the disaster. Moreover, WHO is offering technical assistance to mitigate many of the public health risks posed by lack of water, sanitation, hygiene, food security and other basic necessities to help restore livelihoods as soon as possible.

Classified as Category 2, tropical cyclone Evan caused massive damage, leaving four people dead, eight missing and thousands displaced from their homes. Roads, power lines, water systems, infrastructure and agriculture were severely affected as well. Most of Samoa is now without power and clean water. An estimated 4000 evacuees are taking shelter in eight evacuation centres and in village churches.

On 17 December, the National Disaster Management Office of the Government of Samoa proclaimed a State of Emergency.

Solomon Times Online Note:

Tropical Cyclone Evan went on to wreak havoc in Fiji this week, causing extensive damage, especially to the country's Western and Northern divisions. No casualties have been reported.