Lutu Semisi, of Tullera, will be heading to Samoa to help rebuild villages as soon as a shipping container can be filled with building materials.
Lutu Semisi, of Tullera, will be heading to Samoa to help rebuild villages as soon as a shipping container can be filled with building materials. Jay Cronan

Tsunami help on the way

LUTU SEMISI has been busy building rock walls at The Channon, but he faces a more daunting task when he heads home to family on the main Samoan island of Upolu to help rebuild his tsunami-wrecked tropical village of Salani.

The village, with a population of around 500 on the island's south-east coast, is a popular enclave for surfers who flock there to enjoy the waves of the South Pacific - that was until much of it and other nearby coastal villages were crushed by the Pacific surge destroying homes, businesses and many lives.

The nearby village of Tafatafa is also on his rebuild-agenda where he has family and friends in the close-knit Polynesian culture.

Samoan-born Mr Semisi, a landscaper, lives in Tullera but said he will go home with wife Annette and their son as soon as he can fill a 24-tonne shipping container (hopefully more) with donated building supplies to rebuild destroyed houses.

He already has a pile of pre-used sheets of roofing iron but needs much more and hopes people on the Northern Rivers can give more sheets of unwanted roofing iron and other building items such as hardwood timber, fibro sheeting, cement and nails.

“Anything for buiilding,” he said.

Through friends and contacts Mr Semisi is organising for the container to be shipped cheaply back to Samoa.

To make it easier for donors Mr Semisi said he needs someone with a secure Lismore business site with space to allow the donated materials to be dropped off until shipped out.

He said sheets of iron were the most practical and quickest way to rebuild as the elevated village homes are of simple construction needing just four support poles, floor and a roof.

Mr Semisi has been told there are at least 30 houses in his village that need rebuilding.

The nearby internationally famous Salani Surf Resort was also washed away in the September 30 devastation following the tsunami caused by an undersea earthquake.

Potential donors, or a Lismore business owners with available space to store the materials, can contact Mr Semisi or Annette on 0420 582103.

• EDITORIAL - Page 13



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