Archive for January, 2011

Update January 20, 2011 – Samoa

Jon Ross on Jan 20th 2011

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1-20-11

Talofa Everyone

I want to thank you for all the great emails and words of support while I was on the fact-finding mission in Samoa.
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Jon being interviewed in Samoa for a documentary on disaster recovery

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Here is a brief update on the trip:
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While I was in Samoa, I met with the head of NZAID; the local Samoan Red Cross; Women in Business, a local NGO, which specializes in livelihood development; the head of the Samoan National Disaster Management Office; the coordinator for SUNGO, the Samoan Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organizations; and various local businesspeople involved in the disaster response.  I also toured the disaster affected regions and interviewed disaster survivors in the villages.
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Saleapaga, southeast coast Samoa

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As it turns out, not surprisingly, there are many unfulfilled disaster-related needs.  All in all, I was able to personally identify many MicroAid-worthy projects ranging from replacing canoes–used for fishing, transporting produce, and getting kids to school (floating school buses)–to installing roof-top water collection and filtration systems to supply water tanks (donated by the Red Cross) at peoples’ new homes (furnished by the Samoan government and other NGOs).
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School bus in Matafaa, Samoa

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I recently had a Skype conference call (the wonders of technology) with the staff at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with whom I did not get to meet while I was in Samoa.  In our conversation, they said they had a number of disaster-related projects, mainly in livelihood recovery, where we could partner.  They have been working since the tsunami in 2009 (they were in Samoa before the disaster doing other humanitarian and poverty eradication programs) and are now winding down their disaster-related activities.
MicroAid is the perfect organization, they said, to continue the work they started.  I agree; the victims that still need help have already been vetted by the UNDP, baseline studies done, and budgets created.  MicroAid can step in and do what we can, where we can.  It looks like we will be able to replace fishing equipment, and distribute agricultural kits to people who moved inland and are starting anew.
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the quickest way between two points - Matafaa, Samoa

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So now I am in fundraising mode, and am working with the board to put together the budgets.  As you know, that’s how we work here: identify the need, raise the money, then return to the site to implement and complete the assistance.
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Thanks again for your part in that process.
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Jon
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deceptively serene - Lalomanu, Samoa - epicenter of tsunami destruction

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