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Samoan village of Falefā opens new evacuation centre and school hall

Dec 15, 2022

Another evacuation centre is now operational in Samoa and ready to provide critical shelter in the face of extreme weather or natural disaster. With the Pacific already one month into cyclone season, a safe refuge to rely on is so important to the wellbeing of our Samoan neighbours.  

In late November, Habitat for Humanity New Zealand’s International Programmes team travelled to Samoa to further develop our local partnerships, strategic capacity planning, and see the positive impact Habitat programmes are having in local communities.  

Habitat New Zealand implements community-led, shelter resilience trainings in Samoa, facilitated by our partnership with ADRA Samoa. During these trainings, participants identified risks in their community that may threaten access to safe shelter. To mitigate these risks, a pipeline of 11 evacuation centre builds has already begun construction and is currently five months ahead of schedule.  

 

evacuation centre, Negotiated Partnerships, dedication ceremony, Samoa,  community centre, PASSA, BBS

Falefā Evacuation Centre decorated for the opening ceremony in Falefā, Upolu Island, Samoa.

 

During this trip, the team attended an opening ceremony for the recently completed Falefā Evacuation Centre. This building can now be a safe place for locals to turn to if extreme weather or natural disaster threatens the village. It will also be used as a general community centre, committee meeting building, and school hall for Falefā Primary School. 

When unveiling a plaque to the ceremony attendees, Ms Mesepa Su’a, Falefā Primary School’s Principal, expressed her gratitude for the centre in her village and the wider support of Samoa.  

“Thank you so much for this lovely, beautiful project. We are going to use it properly and carefully […] May blessings continue to shower on you and help every village and every person of Falefā as well as our beautiful Samoa,” says Mesepa Su’a.  

 

Falefā Primary School, evacuation centre, dedication ceremony, Samoa, PASSA, BBS, Negotiated Partnerships

Mesepa Su’a unveiling a plaque recognising the Habitat training that led to the conceptualisation of this evacuation centre.

 

Recently, Habitat New Zealand CEO, Alan Thorp, and other representatives also travelled to Samoa to open evacuation centres in the communities of Salamumu, Gagaifoilevao, Vaimauga, TuiAopo, and Fatuvalu on the islands of Savai’i and Upolu. Read more about these evacuation centres here.

 

Members of Habitat for Humanity’s International Programmes team during a farewell meeting with ADRA Samoa. Left to right: Lou Maea, Technical Manager, Dr. Elizabeth Fritton-Higgins, International Programmes Director, Kate Holgate, Sector and Societal Manager, Caitlin Flannery, MEAL and Capacity Manager.