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8 still missing in Samoa after Evan

Saturday 15 Dec 2012 4:39 p.m.

Samoa has had its first chance to clean up after Cyclone Evan devastated much of the country.

Police say the death toll has now risen to four and at least eight other people are still missing.

A wall of water ripped through much of Samoa thanks to flooding from Cyclone Evan, and some villages have been completely wiped out. Very little escaped the power of the storm.

Rudy Bartley's family home is near Apia town centre. Nothing could be salvaged.

“It could have been worse,” says the Lelata village resident. “These are just material things. I don't really care about it. But if my mum or dad had died I can't imagine the price. I wasn't here. That's the problem. I was stuck in traffic. But all this doesn't really matter to me.”

Just 100m from his house, police search teams were out in force. Mr Bartley's family was spared. Many others weren't.

At least 200 homes in Lelata were flattened. Police are coming along and making their way up the river looking for victims.

One of the bodies police are looking for is Pauta Tanu's husband. He was trying to save a woman from the floodwaters when he was pulled under and swept away.

“Right now it's really hard as I don't have anyone to count on,” says Ms Tanu, speaking through a translator. “Before when he was alive, he was the one working for the family and I’m now taking care of the four kids and pregnant at the moment.”

In Apia town centre the cleanup is underway. The biggest issue now is the lack of power, clean water and shelter.

More than 3000 have been left homeless and are in 21 makeshift evacuation centres.

This was the first cyclone of the season for Samoa. But it's one no one will forget.

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