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Samoa Tsunami: What Happened To All The Housing?

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Brian Dalley
Brian Dalley

It is nearly a year since a massive earthquake sent a devastating tsunami crashing over Samoa’s shores.
At least 143 people were killed and more than 4000 displaced.

New Zealanders were moved by the disaster and dug deep to help – giving over $20 million.

In total the international community gave the Samoan government over $190 million in donations and financial aid. That’s more than NZ 207 million, (at least 1000 fully completed relocatable homes ).

John Campbell was left wondering, “Where are all the new buildings? They may have been on the other side of the island that was unaffected by the tsunami but I don’t think so as 1000 three bedroom homes would be hard to hide however it wasn’t 1000 homes that we gave them it was cash, and that is very easy to hide.

Little wonder John Campbell found little change since his last visit just after the tsunami first pounded the small island nation

Why do we continue to hand out money each and every time we are called to do so? I have been told very few other countries do the same, they instead opt to contribute product or produce, which although doesn’t wipe out corruption, it does go some way to controlling it.

Plus think of the work it would have generated for those working and living in New Zealand if we had donated even half of those 1000 transportable homes and a few transportable amenity blocks.

I have been lobbying for a number of years now to try and get New Zealand Government to look at the way we support those in need but to no avail.

Over the past few years I have spoken with a number of CEO’s who have hit the same brick wall and it can be frustrating when programmes such as Campbell Live support what we have collectively been saying for years – let’s start getting serious about helping those in need and stop bowing to those feeding off the needy.

There is no doubt corruption on a large scale exists and is known to exist. I have heard firsthand experiences that would rival any gangster movie and we are talking about aid to the needy.

Unfortunately this behaviour is too entrenched to wipe-out completely but we can make it much easier to identify and less glamorous.

In most instances food, clothing and shelter is required not money.

Let’s then instead of wiring them a few million dollars, get our people working building transportable buildings of which we can pack full of food, clothing and water.

We have the raw material that isn’t the problem; in fact we export the equivalent of 300,000 homes a year in raw material (logs) to China each year.

Sure we are a generous nation but I really do think it is time we started to put ourselves first and that could be done by simply calling the shots by answering the call for help in a different way.

We will help you with what we can, transportable housing, food, clothing and water - Money? Sorry don’t have any, but we can lend a hand in other ways.

Remember, a mixture of empathy and brainstorming can move mountains so please don’t hesitate to contact us with your thoughts...

Brian Dalley is a former NZMBA Mortgage Broker, Property Investor, and Real Estate Agent with over 15 years experience in the industry. You can read more of his and other professional’s views and opinions on his website

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