Samoa tsunami one year later

“After people's basic needs are being met, we aim to leave them better off than they were before and better prepared to face these emergencies.”
Barry Coates
Oxfam New Zealand's Executive Director
Published: 28 September 2010

On this one year commemoration of the men, women and children who lost their lives in the devastating tsunami that struck Samoa and Tonga in September 2009, our thoughts are with families, friends and communities. We also extend our sympathies to the many survivors who experienced suffering and trauma.

"This tragic event will be long remembered by Oxfam, not only because of the extent of the devastation, human displacement and loss of life that it caused, but also because of the generous response from partner organizations, governments and the public in the aftermath of the emergency," said Oxfam New Zealand's Executive Director Barry Coates.

"I would like to offer a sincere thank you to everyone who supported both our immediate response and the ongoing work of rebuilding the lives and livelihoods of affected communities."

Oxfam responded immediately to the emergency by mobilizing trained personnel and essential materials to ensure that those people worst affected had clean, safe water and sanitation.

Oxfam's Samoan partner organization, Women in Business Development (WIBDI), helped us to reach affected communities and continues to support the recovery effort, working to rebuild people's livelihoods through organic agriculture, improved access to markets and increasing income-earning opportunities.

"When natural disasters strike developing countries, it is women, children, the elderly and the sick who suffer worst. Without the support we gratefully receive, Oxfam would not be able to provide water, food, sanitation, shelter and healthcare in the immediate aftermath.

"After people's basic needs are being met, we aim to leave them better off than they were before and better prepared to face these emergencies. We help to establish sustainable livelihoods that will enable communities to lift themselves out of poverty."

Coates adds: "Even though the physical devastation, life-changing resettlements, loss of life and emotional trauma associated with the tsunami will never be forgotten, the people of Samoa can look ahead to a life of hope, dignity and opportunity."

Read more

Read Oxfam's report: From tragedy to recovery: Samoa tsunami response 2009-2010

View the slideshow: Samoa Tsunami response

Asia-Pacific disasters

Contact Information

Janna Hamilton, janna.hamilton@oxfam.org.nz, +64 9 3557413 or +64 21720546