Construction has begun for the building of the first of two U.S. Government-funded warehouses meant to store emergency relief supplies for over 5,000 people.
In January 2021, Caritas Samoa partnered with their sister agency in the United States, Catholic Relief Services, to continue developing and delivering goods and services that are directed at protecting lives, livelihoods, and property.
In a press statement issued indicated that the half-million U.S. dollar project, funded by the U.S government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is titled Promoting Resilience through Essentials Pre-Positioned for Samoa (PREPS) and set to conclude in September this year.
Caritas Samoa Projects Manager, Karen Anaya says the goal of the project is to enable vulnerable populations in Samoa affected by disaster to be able to meet their immediate, essential needs, and live in dignity by prepositioning emergency relief supplies at 8 villages across Upolu and Savai’i.
“The project involves the construction of 2 warehouses, the procurement of emergency supplies ranging from jerry cans and hygiene kits to shelter toolkits and kitchen sets for over 500 families, the relocation of 2 fully stocked containers, and the training of 45 local warehouse managers at 8 sites: Malotau, Leauva’a, Malololelei, Mulivai, Lotofaga , Sataua, Safotu, and Tapueleele.”
United States Chargé d’Affaires, Jonathan Lee Yoo visited the first warehouse construction site at Malololelei which was blessed by the Caritas Samoa National Director, Fr. Pesamino Victor. Community representatives, volunteers, and warehouse managers were in attendance.
“It is important that Caritas has taken the time and effort to procure relief supplies locally, supporting Samoa’s local economy and businesses. We like to see our funding utilized to benefit the local economy and local organizations,” said Chargé d’Affaires Jonathan Lee Yoo.
The construction of this warehouse marks a major project milestone in Disaster Risk Reduction to minimize suffering immediately following a disaster. Karen Anaya furter stated the implementation of pre-positioned disaster relief supplies supports communities affected and displaced by disasters; it ensures their post-disaster well-being and assists in their safe return home.
“The supplies stored here, and at our other seven locations, will reduce the likelihood of post-disaster risks related to health, hygiene, and physical safety, and assists in fixing damaged infrastructure.
“Our framework highly encourages resilience building through sustainable and inclusive development, development that addresses the root causes of existing risks and prevents the creation of new ones.
“The PREPS project is sustainable and inclusive as it involves the 8 local communities in their own stock oversight and emergency response.”
Caritas Samoa is a humanitarian aid organization that provides assistance to low income families to maintain health and wellbeing, promotes capacity building initiatives, fights for equity, and actively works for the improvement of rural water supplies, shelter, and environmental awareness and protection through ecosystem restoration. Since its formation in 2009 Caritas Samoa has been a leading agency for emergency preparedness and response country-wide.