Local likens Samoan cyclone damage to ‘a war zone’
LENNOX Head's George Leslie says Australia has not done enough to support its South Pacific neighbour Samoa, after the country was devastated by a cyclone last month.
Mr Leslie is a keen surfer who has invested a lot of time, effort and money into Samoa.
In 1999 he and his business partners built a resort there, the Sa'Moana Resort.
But it has been torn to shreds by Cyclone Evan, which hit the island on December 13 with heavy rain, winds of up to 270km/h and storm surges up to four metres high.
"My daughter Kirstin and her husband Daniel (Mendola) are running the resort," Mr Leslie said.
"We first heard about the cyclone the next morning, but it was so hard because we couldn't get any up-to-date information on what was happening over there.
"We had a garbled message from Kirstin on our phone, saying the place was a mess.
"They had very little warning about it.
"But then the cyclone hit and it was so full on.
"There are bungalows turned upside down and the roof of the main building has been torn off.
"Trees are down everywhere and there's still no water or electricity and it could be another two months before that gets reconnected.
"All the furniture is ruined.
"There are kayaks all over the place.
"Our boats were smashed up against the rocks.
"The problem is that in Samoa there are no organisations like the State Emergency Service or the Rural Fire Service. They don't even have councils.
"So getting access to help for the clean-up has been really difficult.
"It's like a war zone there at the moment.
The Australian Red Cross has launched the Cyclone Evan 2012 Appeal. You can donate by calling 1800 811 700, or by sending a cheque or money order with a note that it is for the Cyclone Evan (Samoa and Fiji) 2012 Appeal to: Australian Red Cross Supporter Service, PO Box 2957, Melbourne VIC 8060.