Air of renewed mourning over Samoa

By Cherelle Jackson

Boys add finishing touches to the newly tiled graves of tsunami victims, in preparation for a memorial on the 29th. Photo / Cherelle Jackson
Boys add finishing touches to the newly tiled graves of tsunami victims, in preparation for a memorial on the 29th. Photo / Cherelle Jackson

In two days it would have been a year since Samoa was hit by a devastating tsunami, killing 149 residents and tourists.

As September 29 (September 30 NZT) approaches, and families and friends prepare for the commemoration of the tragic day, there is an air of renewed mourning hanging over Samoa.

"It's a day that will force us to remember what happened," said Paneta Sagale whose mother died while trying to escape the waves.

Paneta will join thousands of Samoans who will commemorate the day with Church services in the villages that were badly hit by the tsunami on the same day last year.

"It would be hard, because we have tried our best to move on, and we have rebuilt our lives, but the 29th will take us back to that tragic day, which so moved Samoa to a state of shock,' Paneta said.

The villages of Saleapaga, Lalomanu, Lepa and Poutasi will host evening prayer services on the 29th to remember their loved ones who passed in the tsunami.

The government has said that the national commemoration will take place on Sunday, October 3 with a prayer service at the public burial grounds at Tafaigata.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi said plans about the day will be made public once they have been finalised. The government is meeting with the Samoa Council of Churches to discuss the ceremony.

Meanwhile, some families are planning their own private memorials.

The first of such was the memorial of Tuifeaomalo Anna Schafaussen Annandale, a public figure was commemorated last week by family and friends, including the Head of State, Tupua Tamasese Efi.

- NZ Herald

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