Tahiti disaster expected to be called after Teahupo’o village flooded

Flooding in Tahiti's Teahupo’o village
Heavy rain in Tahiti on Tuesday and a flooded river that runs through Teahupo’o village has caused extensive flooding. Image: RNZ/Hinatea Boosie

By Caleb Fotheringham, RNZ Pacific journalist

Cars have been swept out to sea and homes damaged after extensive flooding this week in the south Tahiti village of Teahupo’o.

A Teahupo’o resident, Hinatea Boosie, was one of the people who lost her car and said some people in the village had lost everything.

“I’ve lived here for six years now and this has never happened before, and according to most of the families who are originally from here they have never, ever seen this,” Boosie said.

Public broadcaster Polynesia One reported that French Polynesia’s outgoing vice-president Jean-Christophe Bouissou said a decree of natural disaster was due to be made by the council of ministers today.

Bouissou, who is also the outgoing Minister of Housing, estimated the cost of the rebuild would be around $50 million francs (US$500,000).

Caretaker President Édouard Fritch — his ruling party was defeated by the pro-independence Tavini Huira’atira party in last Sunday’s election —  the Vice-President and the Minister of Major Works, René Temeharo visited Teahupo’o to assess the damage on Wednesday.

Polynesia One reports that the extent of the flooding was caused after the Fauoro River that runs through the village flooded.

8 cars swept out to sea
Boosie said she thought about eight cars had been swept out to sea.

“Nobody got hurt bad but all the houses were underwater, everything was damaged inside,” she said.

“What we’re going to try to do now is clean all the houses and then try to get help from anyone.”

Teahupo’o will be the surfing venue for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and had professional surfers staying in the area chasing a big swell at the time of the floods.

Boosie said the surfers in the area were all helping the community.

“A lot of them came to help us to lift up refrigerators, move the cars that were that were stuck in the trees. It was amazing to see the solidarity of everyone.”

Boosie has started a crowdfunding page to raise money for the community.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

Teahupo'o village flooding
Flooding in the Tahitian village of Teahupo’o. Image: Hinatea Boosie
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