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Update 24 April 2016:
Samoa is breathing a sigh of relief this morning, as the country wakes up to reportedly moderate damage from Cyclone Amos.
Red Cross teams have mobilised to carry out rapid assessments of the damage and to provide assistance in the worst hit areas.
The island of Savai’i is reported to have been worst hit. Red Cross teams there helped evacuate some families overnight. We have been advised of roads blocked, power disruptions and flooding.
Red Cross staff in Samoa say the storm raged for about three hours last night, with one of those hours being fairly intense before Cyclone Amos quickly moved north east at category two cyclone. Further bad weather is likely, but they say the worst is now over.
Red Cross on standby as Cyclone Amos approaches Samoa
On its current track, the centre of Cyclone Amos is expected to pass across Samoa during Sunday as a category four cyclone, with maximum sustained winds of 90 knots (167km/h) close to the centre, and lie about 40km southeast of Apia at midnight Sunday (NZST). The cyclone is expected to bring torrential rain, damaging winds and swells during its passage.
More than fifty trained Samoa Red Cross volunteers have been mobilised, with another 200 on standby for first aid, emergency response and damage assessments.
Peni Mulitano, Samoa Red Cross Incident Controller says his team have made good progress with the preparations and things are moving forward in line with the plan. He says that they have been training staff and volunteers for some time in case of such an event.
In Apia, sites have been identified for evacuation centres and a team of volunteers is on hand to help set up and administer the centres if required. They are also preparing to carry out water treatment, following a training on water treatment from New Zealand Red Cross last July.
A New Zealand Red Cross aid worker is currently in Samoa with the Red Cross. New Zealand Red Cross has also assisted by activating two satellite phones, to help ensure communication following a cyclone and potential damage to telecommunications infrastructure.
Around 15 staff and volunteers are staying in the Red Cross office in Apia overnight tonight in order to be on hand to offer support as soon as possible after the cyclone has passed.
Samoa Red Cross has pre-existing disaster response plans in place and these have been adapted for the current scenario over the past week. They are currently liaising with the National Disaster Management Office and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in order to finalise the plans.
How you can help
The best way to help is by donating to the Pacific Disaster Fund, to ensure we can respond quickly and efficiently when our Pacific neighbours are affected by a disaster like Cyclone Amos.