Australian specialists to help Samoa rebuild after Cyclone Evan

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A team of technical specialists from the Australian Civilian Corps will spend the next 12 months in Samoa to help with its long-term recovery from Cyclone Evan.

Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Dr Stephen Henningham, said the deployment of up to seven specialists will complement the $7 million announced in February for reconstruction efforts following the disaster. This adds to the $2 million in emergency supplies delivered immediately after the cyclone hit in December 2012.

‘Rebuilding critical infrastructure is central to Samoa’s recovery,’ Dr Henningham said. ‘This deployment will provide much-needed assistance to the Government to speed up reconstruction and reconnect communities.’

Structural engineer Peter Bowman and geotechnical engineer Bill Cartan arrived in Apia in mid-May.

‘The Samoa Land Transport Authority is grateful for the assistance provided by Australia through the deployment of these specialists who will work with our engineers to carry out detailed assessments of the bridges damaged by Cyclone Evan,’ said Leasi Vainalepa Galuvao, CEO of the Samoa Land Transport Authority.

‘These two Australian Civilian Corps engineers will work with the Samoan Land Transport Authority to identify what’s needed for upgrading damaged bridges on Upolu,’ Dr Henningham said.

A water advisor will arrive in Apia in June to help the Samoan Water Authority develop inundation and hazard-mapping capability.

Over the next year, four more Australian Civilian Corps specialists will provide the Samoan Government with technical and policy advice to help the country better withstand future natural disasters.

They will build on the work carried out by a five-member Australian Civilian Corps team in January. Four engineers and a recovery adviser travelled to Samoa after Cyclone Evan to help assess the recovery needs of local communities.

The Australian Civilian Corps is a register of more than 400 trained civilian specialists, recruited, trained and managed by AusAID. They can be deployed to countries experiencing or emerging from natural disasters or conflict. These specialists assist countries to restore essential services, rebuild government institutions and re-establish economic and social stability.