Land owners are partly to blame for the added risks to public safety and damage to properties, by carrying out development projects without first seeking professional advice, along the landslide prone east coast of Apia.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Land Transport Authority, Galumalemana Ms. Titi Tutuvanu-Schwalger, is one of the people under pressure to keep the whole coastal area safe and secure for the travelling public.
The Lalomanu landslide is the worst to happen so far it has forced the LTA to pave alternative roads with tons of rocks and earth blocking off the main tar-sealed road.
Galumalemana is eager for land owners not only to be vigilant with development projects they take but to acquire approval permits for the public safety.
““There is a development consent form to be filled out so that the Ministries including LTA and MNRE to undertake risk assessments first,” Galumalemana explained.
“Most of the developments cause the soil to loosen up and contributes to the problem of landslides.”
The noted concern so far are on landowners who undertake development projects without a permit for official approval to go ahead.
Land project developers are required to submit a permit application circulated in Ministries for professional advice.
“At the moment most do not operate on permits because these lands are theirs but it is critical to have a development consent application form filled out so we can provide our input as well to eliminate landslides.”
Galumalemana admitted that while some of the public prefer working without the knowledge of MNRE, MWTI and LTA, the activities post serious risk to the lives of the public travelling the east road every day.
Galumalemana told Newsline that as a first responder, an LTA team ensures that public road is cleared of any rocks for ease of travel and for transportation to continue without disruption.
“We can’t do this by ourselves. We need public support on this matter because without their support, we cannot carry out any of our work.”
Landslides are either caused by torrential rain or by wind loosening up the soil in other parts due to severe human activities that removes the natural cover of trees and other vegetation.
A World Bank funded study into the safety risks in the area is underway with support from the LTA and other related ministries of Government.
“We have a project with World Bank where we are assisting in finding ways to eliminate landslides on these vulnerable areas.”