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Samoa, a small island country in the South West Pacific, was the first in the region to become independent in 1962.  The country is a group of two main islands, Savai’i and Upolu, as well as several smaller islands lying in the Polynesia region of the southern Pacific Ocean. The country consists of four main inhabited islands and six uninhabited islands.  Its total area is approximately 2,931 square kilometers, with a coastline of about 403 kilometers.  According to CIA's latest report, approximately 193,000 people live in Samoa, with an economy base on subsistence and exports that include agriculture, fishery and forestry products. Tourism is another growing industry.  There are also several food processing and automobile parts plants. However, the country  remains somewhat dependent on financial aid

The capital, Apia, is located on the second largest island Upolu and has a population of approximately 40,000 people.  The islands are of volcanic origin clearly visible in the form of several dormant volcanoes and lava fields. Approximately 70% of Samoa’s population and infrastructure are located in low-lying coastal areas. Projected sea level rise could exacerbate coastal erosion, loss of land and property and dislocation of the island inhabitants. The extreme events of tropical cyclones Ofa (1990) and Val (1991)caused damage with costs estimates of approximately four times the gross domestic product (GDP) of Samoa.