Samoa: Build Back Better for cyclone Evan affected people


A shelter under reconstruction on the left, and upon completion on the right. Photo credit: Anne Milbank.

Talo Peauvasa Talaepa and his family are very pleased to have permanent shelter after passing almost two years in a temporary shelter. Like Talo Peauvasa Talaepa’s family, 64 other cyclone-Evan affected households are now eligible for a cyclone proof dwelling with enhanced resilience. This has been made possible through a joint initiative of the Government of Samoa, Adventist Development and Relief Agencies (ADRA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) aiming to help affected people afford better resilience to the impact of natural disasters.

Building Back Better

  • 64 other cyclone-Evan affected households are now eligible for a cyclone proof dwelling with enhanced resilience.
  • The shelter has been designed and engineered to withstand cyclonic winds, earthquakes and periodic surface flooding. The shelters are based on the concept of traditional Samoan Faleo’o
  • Tropical cyclone Evan struck Samoa on December 13, 2012 with a total estimated cost of damages and losses of $210.6 million USD which was significant for the small size of the Samoan economy.

The shelter has been designed and engineered to withstand cyclonic winds, earthquakes and periodic surface flooding. The shelters are based on the concept of traditional Samoan Faleo’o. Through these shelters, the affected communities will once again embrace the pole style construction of houses that is the most appropriate to withstand local climatic conditions.

In the aftermath of cyclone Evan, UNDP targeted families in the most vulnerable situations and with greatest need. Families with young children or senior citizens and persons with disabilities, as well as low income families, have also been recipients of the project.  

Tropical cyclone Evan struck Samoa on December 13, 2012 with a total estimated cost of damages and losses of $210.6 million USD which was significant for the small size of the Samoan economy. It impacted severely on the subsistence of households with loss of crops, and destruction of fruit trees, agricultural inputs and assets, livestock and fishing gear, etc.

“We are very happy to have a permanent shelter like this one. It gives our momentum back to lead a modest and dignified life”-says Talo Peauvasa Talaepa, a project recipient.

ADRA Country Director in Samoa Su’a Julia Wallwork says “We were committed to see that those who lost their homes have shelters now. I am certain that this project will go forward, and be successful in making a difference”.

“The Build Back Better principle is based on the notion of utilising opportunities created by natural disasters to ‘build in disaster resilience’ during reconstruction to a standard higher than what was there before” says Anthony Wood, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative to Samoa.

“As part of the ‘Build Back Better’ ethos, this project is also aiming to increase capacity within government agencies to monitor and educate households in the principles of disaster resilient construction”.  He further added.

UNDP has lasting partnerships with the Governments of Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau alongside other development partners, providing them with technical, normative and analytical expertise; funds; and organizational and coordination support to assist in efforts to attain their development aspirations. UNDP also manages regional and national projects/ programmes in the areas of Democratic Governance, Sustainable Livelihoods/Poverty Reduction, Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Environment and Energy and Gender Mainstreaming.

About the project

Samoa Cyclone Evan Early Recovery Project: Shelter Reconstruction Programme


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