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Hon. Governor leads the assessment team

Updated: Jul 16, 2022

By: Tosimaeʻa Tupua

A day after high tides and extreme weather battered parts of American Samoa many communities are assessing the damage.

Flooding and dangerous conditions along waterfronts around the East resulted in closures, warnings and damage to infrastructure like seawalls and piers.

On Friday, a resident of Auasi on the east said its seawall had been partially damaged, and asked the public to avoid the area. Debris and garbage was dumped onto the main highway from the eastern end of the island to the western most tip of the Territory. Fatumafuti was covered with sand and debris and huge waves washed onto vehicles stalling traffic for more than two hours.

In the West many shops and houses near the ocean were partially flooded while the part of Coconut Point was in shambles after debris and logs were flung against nearby properties by waves.

The Department of Public Safety responded to a call regarding a minor landslide in Fagamutu. Officers removed rocks with the assistance of staff from the Department of Public Works.

The aftermath of Thursday’s wild weather and king tides — a colloquial term for the highest tides — has some officials and leaders wondering how to go about repairs and what changes may be needed as climate change intensifies in our part of the world in the future.

"What we have to weigh as policymakers ... with the climate crisis, and what I'm starting to think of as climate chaos, we need to figure out what we put back in place," said TCO/Director of Homeland Security Samana Ve’ave’a.

Governor Lemanu P. S Mauga and his team of assessors were out early yesterday morning to inspect the damages starting in the East with stops in Auasi, Amouli, Laulii and other affected areas including the International Airport in Tafuna.

Tidal waves crashed into the airport perimeter fence early Thursday morning causing damage, and bringing in loads of foreign objects of debris onto the airfield. Hawaiian Air flight that was scheduled to arrive that evening Thursday night July 14, 2022 was postponed until last night due to urgent work needed to clear the debris and garbage from the main Runway 05-23. The Runway reopened at 4:00pm yesterday.

Thursday’s damaging weather and tides should spur officials to think about how to adapt, especially in places like American Samoa where hard surfaces, like the cement and stone seawall, take the direct force of waves and wind.

Here’s a look at the Territory during and after strong winds and king tides that battered our islands on Thursday

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