Deadly tsunamis strike in Pacific

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by IBRIS, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. IBRIS

    IBRIS Senior Member Senior Member

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    Samoa quake 'triggered tsunami'

    A strong earthquake near the South Pacific nation of Samoa has triggered a small tsunami, a warning centre says.


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    Sea level readings following the quake, which had a magnitude of up to 7.0, indicated a tsunami was generated, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

    But it said a "destructive Pacific-wide tsunami" was not expected.

    The quake struck some 300km (185 miles) south-west of Samoa. Waves of 8cm (3.1 inches) high were reported in the American Samoan town of Pago Pago.

    One policeman in the capital Apia said buildings swayed and shook for about five minutes, but there was no damage or casualties.

    "It was not so strong," he told the Associated Press.

    The Hawaii-based warning centre said the tsunami "may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicentre".

    No damage was immediately reported.

    Samoa is a small chain of islands that lies half way between New Zealand and Hawaii.

    Countries around the Indian and Pacific Oceans have been testing systems to warn of approaching tsunamis since the 26 December 2004 earthquake unleashed a tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people.

    The 9.3 magnitude quake, off the coast of Indonesia, sent waves thousands of kilometres across the Indian Ocean, hitting countries as far apart as the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Somalia.


    BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Samoa quake 'triggered tsunami'
     
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  3. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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    Tsunamis triggered by a strong quake in the South Pacific have killed at least 65 people in Samoa and more than 20 in American Samoa, say reports. The Samoan authorities say at least another 145 people have been injured and whole villages destroyed. American Samoa's delegate to the US Congress said thousands of people had been left homeless in the territory.

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    An 8.3-magnitude quake struck at 1748 GMT on Tuesday, generating 15ft (4.5m) waves in some areas of the islands.

    The Samoa islands comprise two separate entities - the nation of Samoa and American Samoa, a US territory. The total population is about 250,000. The water was swirling like a spa pool outwards [towards] the rim of the lagoon and in a few seconds the water sunk.

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    A general tsunami warning was issued for the wider South Pacific region but was cancelled a few hours later. The general manager of Samoa's National Health Service told the BBC that 65 people had died and 145 people were injured. US President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in American Samoa, enabling federal funding to made available to help victims. Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said he was shocked at the devastation. "So much has gone. So many people are gone," he told the AAP news agency.

    Floating cars
    "Some of the areas are only a few feet above sea level, so you can imagine the devastation," said Eni Faleomavaega, who represents American Samoa in the US. "It caused severe damage to property, there are cars floating everywhere." Flood damage in Fagatogo, American Samoa (30 Sept 2009)
    High waves damaged property and swept cars out to sea. Mr Faleomavaega told the BBC the waves had "literally wiped out all the low-lying areas in the Samoan islands". He said the tsunami had hit within minutes of the quake, leaving people with no time to escape. "There would have been no warning system capable of giving adequate warning to the people," he said.

    Samoa's Deputy PM Misa Telefoni told Australia's AAP news agency that "the ocean went out within five minutes". "With the location and the intensity... I don't know if anything better could have been done." Officials at the Samoa Meteorology Division said many of those who died were killed by a second wave after they went to gather fish that had been washed up after the first.

    Sirens reportedly blared out across the Samoan capital, Apia, again late on Tuesday but the warning was thought to be a false alarm. Dr Lemalu Fiu, at a hospital in Apia, said the number of casualties was expected to rise as people arrived from coastal areas.

    Mr Telefoni said there were fears the major tourism areas on the west side of Upolu island had been badly hit."We've had a pretty grim picture painted of all that coast," he said. Australia said one of its citizens was feared dead with six missing. Both Australia and New Zealand are preparing to send emergency aid. Samoan officials say it could take a week before the full extent of the damage is known.

    Beaches gone
    The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) said the quake struck at a depth of 33km (20 miles), some 190km (120 miles) from Apia in Samoa.
    Radio New Zealand quoted Samoan residents as saying that villages were inundated and homes and cars swept away. Graeme Ansell, a New Zealander near Apia, told the radio station the beach village of Sau Sau Beach Fale had been "wiped out". "There's not a building standing. We've all clambered up hills, and one of our party has a broken leg. There will be people in a great lot of need around here," he said. Witnesses have reported scenes of destruction. "It's horrible... The village is gone and my once beautiful beachfront villa has now been submerged in water," Josh Nayangu told the BBC after fleeing the area on a small fishing boat with his wife and son.
     
  4. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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    More than 80 people dead after powerful Pacific tsunami sweeps villages out to sea

    63 dead on Samoa; 19 on American Samoa as the death toll rises

    More than 80 people are dead after a powerful undersea earthquake hurled massive tsunami waves at the shores of Samoa and American Samoa, flattening villages and sweeping cars and people out to sea. Emergency services feared entire villages had been wiped out by the massive waves, which sent terrified residents fleeing for higher ground. They have managed to confirm 82 deaths so far - but the scale of the devastation and the lack of power and communications have left authorities fearing the true death toll could be much higher.

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    A boat is seen on the edge of the main highway in the village of Fagatogo, in American Samoa, today. It was swept ashore by a tsunami that authorities fear left hundreds dead

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    Destruction can be seen in Pago in American Samoa after a powerful Pacific Ocean earthquake spawned towering tsunami waves that swept ashore, flattening houses

    Signs of devastation were everywhere, with a giant boat washed ashore lying on the edge of a highway and flood waters swallowing up cars and homes. The quake, with a magnitude between 8.0 and 8.3, struck around dawn about 125 miles (200 kilometres) from Samoa, an island nation of 180,000 people located about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. It struck about 120 miles (190 kilometres) from neighboring American Samoa, a U.S. territory that is home to 65,000 people. Four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet (4 to 6 metres) high roared ashore on American Samoa, reaching up to a mile (1.6 kilometres) inland, Mike Reynolds, superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa, was quoted as saying by a parks service spokeswoman.

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    The ruins of a building are seen among debris near a church in the village of Leone, American Samoa today

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    A main road in the downtown area of Fagatogo, is seen flooded by water

    He reported dozens of park workers missing. Latest news from American Samoa said the tsunami had killed at least 19 people there. 'I don't think anybody is going to be spared in this disaster,' said acting American Samoa Gov. Faoa A. Sunia. In Washington, President Barack Obama declared a disaster for American Samoa. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was deploying teams to provide support and assess damage. Samoan Prime Minister Sailele Malielegaoi looked shaken today on board a flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to the Samoan capital of Apia.

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    Another boat can be seen stranded among wreckage in the village of Si'umu in Western Samoa today

    'So much has gone. So many people are gone,' he told reporters on board. 'I'm so shocked, so saddened by all the loss.' Malielegaoi said his own village of Lepa was destroyed. 'Thankfully, the alarm sounded on the radio and gave people time to climb to higher ground,' he said. 'But not everyone escaped.' Fears of a devastating ocean-wide tsunami dissolved after the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancelled its warning for the region. The warning had been issued three and a half hours earlier after the earthquake. The 2004 Asian tsunami killed about 230,000 people across 11 countries.

    'I can confirm there is damage, I can confirm there are deaths and I can confirm there are casualties," a Western Samoa police spokeswoman said. "I cannot say any more at the moment.'

    President Thomas Lapua, who lives in the Western Samoan capital of Apia, said: 'These are places that exist because people depend on the sea to fish - now the sea is threatening their lives. It may be some time before we find out the full extent of this.'

    A resident of a Western Samoan coastal village, Theresa Falele Dussey, told Radio New Zealand her house had been destroyed by wave, as were houses and cars in a nearby village.

    'Several people have been calling up the radio stations to report high sea swells hitting the costal areas of Fagaloa and Siumu on the eastern side of Upolu island and along to the south,' said Samoalive News

    'School has been called off for the day with tsunami warnings calling for people to head to higher grounds.'

    Tsunami alerts were issued across the South Pacific region, from American Samoa to New Zealand, following the quake, which occurred some 50 miles below the ocean, 120 miles south west of the Samoan capital of Apia.

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    An earthquake event location map shows the epicentre of the undersea quake

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    This map shows a projection of the wave energy resulting from the 8.3 magnitude earthquake which hit midway between Samoa and American Samoa early today. This assessment allowed Australia to be rated as having no threat from the quake. The red lines indicate the tectonic plates.

    The quake hit at 6:48 am local time (17:48 GMT) midway between the two island groups.

    At least one entire village in American Samoa was reported to have been flattened by the tsunami, later reports said, but confirmation of the destruction was difficult because communications were cut to many areas. In New Zealand residents were told to expect one metre high waves on the east coast, but waves of only 40 centimetres were detected by coastal sensors. A Samoan resident, Mr Keni Lesa was preparing to take his family to higher ground as the tsunami warning went out. 'We've done a lot of training for this, but it still a shock when it actually happens and you hear the warnings going out on the radio.' There were unconfirmed reports of at least five additional people dead in the island nation of Tonga, west of the Samoas, New Zealand's acting Prime Minister Bill English said. 'There are a considerable number of people who've been swept out to sea and are unaccounted for,' English said. He said a New Zealand P3 Orion maritime surveillance plane would reach the region later today to search for survivors.

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    This graphic provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) how fast the tsunami travels after an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 rocked the island nation of Samoa

    U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. John Titchen said a C-130 was being dispatched today to deliver aid to American Somoa, assess damage and take the governor back home. On Samoa, New Zealander Graeme Ansell said the beach village of Sau Sau Beach Fale was leveled. 'It was very quick. The whole village has been wiped out,' Ansell told New Zealand's National Radio from a hill near Samoa's capital, Apia. 'There's not a building standing. We've all clambered up hills, and one of our party has a broken leg.' Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said an Australian woman has been confirmed killed in Samoa, three other Australians have been hospitalized and six other Australians remain unaccounted for after the tsunami.

    Mase Akapo, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in American Samoa, reported at least 19 people killed in four different villages on the main island of Tutuila. Officials reported at least 50 injured. American Samoa is home to a U.S. national park that appeared to be especially hard-hit. Reynolds, the park superintendent, said he had been able to locate only 20 per cent of the park's 40 to 50 employees and volunteers. Residents in both Samoa and American Samoa reported being shaken awake by the quake early in the morning. It lasted two to three minutes and was centred about 20 miles (32 kilometres) below the ocean floor. It was followed by at least three large aftershocks of at least 5.6 magnitude. The quake came Tuesday morning for the Samoas, which lie just east of the international dateline. For Asia-Pacific countries on the other side of the line, it was already Wednesday. The Samoan capital was virtually deserted with schools and businesses closed. Hours after the waves struck, fresh sirens rang out with another tsunami alert and panicked residents headed for higher ground again, although there was no indication of a new quake. The effects of the tsunami could be felt thousands of miles away. Japan's Meteorological Agency said 'very weak' tsunami waves were registered off the island of Hachijojima about 10 hours after the quake. There were no reports of injuries or damage in Japan, which is about 4,700 miles (7,600 kilometres) northwest of Samoa. U.S. officials said strong currents and dangerous waves were forecast from California to Washington state. No major flooding was expected, however. In Los Angeles, lifeguards said they will clear beaches at about 8 p.m. in response to an advisory for possible dangerous currents. While the earthquake and tsunami were big, they were not on the same scale of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, said Brian Atwater of the U.S. Geological Survey in Seattle. That tsunami killed more than 230,000 in a dozen countries across Asia. The 2004 quake was at least 10 times stronger than the measurements being reported for Tuesday's quake, Atwater said.
     
  5. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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  6. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    I pray to Almighty to give rest the soul of departed , peace to rest, the mental strength to the victims in the hour of trauma.

    Regards
     
  7. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Pintu New Member

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    The Canadian Press: Unclear if Canadians among those killed, missing in popular Samoan tourist area

    Unclear if Canadians among those killed, missing in popular Samoan tourist area

    By Diana Mehta (CP) – 3 hours ago

    TORONTO — It was unclear early Wednesday if any Canadians were among those missing in a strip of Samoan coastline popular with tourists after a deadly tsunami swept the tropical Pacific island nation.

    An 8.0 magnitude earthquake triggered a lethal series of waves which thundered onto beaches dotted with holiday resorts in the area of Lalomanu, on the south end of Samoa, on Tuesday.

    "There's nothing there now, everything's been wiped away," said Tala Mauala, secretary general of the Samoa Red Cross, in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press. "There's nothing left, just bare ground."

    The department of foreign affairs in Ottawa has not confirmed if any Canadians have been affected by the tsunami but news reports from the island said Australian officials are providing assistance to Canadians.

    The Australian High Commission in Samoa is responsible for Canadian consular activities on the island.

    Mauala said while she wasn't sure if any Canadians had been killed or injured by the tsunami, it was possible that a few had been caught up in the waves that swept the island.

    "There hasn't been any identification done so far," she said, adding that the hospitals had been focused on dealing with pressing injuries.

    Entire villages were flattened while scores of tourists went missing after the towering waves rushed onto shore.

    "It didn't really give time for people to move onto higher ground," said Mauala.

    Eye witness accounts said the waves were at least as high as electric poles and gushed about a kilometre inland before retreating.

    "(Volunteers) have seen a lot of debris hanging from the electric wires," said Mauala. "Everything is down."

    Mauala said a local hospital has reported at least 79 people dead but that number is expected to rise over the coming day. Hundreds more, locals and tourists, are still missing as well.

    The overall death toll from the tsunami is currently at 99.

    As night fell, much of the island was swathed in darkness after power lines felled by the tsunami left residents with no electricity.

    Red Cross volunteers delivered lanterns to hospitals and temporary shelters which had been set up for villagers who lost entire homes to the waves.

    "There is a lot of shock and trauma," said Mauala. "Everything has been wiped away."

    The small island's tight-knit community was reeling from the impact of the tsunami.

    "A lot of our friends have gone missing or have died," she said. "We all feel for them. It's not as easy but we're trying to cope."

    The International Red Cross has been asked to deliver aid in the form of food, water, shelter and psychological support to the survivors of the deadly tsunami.

    Tourism is a major industry for Samoa, which boasts a year-round warm climate, pristine beaches and lush tropical rainforests.
     
  9. IBRIS

    IBRIS Senior Member Senior Member

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    Scores dead, villages flattened in devastating Samoan tsunami

    (CNN) -- Survivors of a deadly earthquake-triggered tsunami which hit the Samoan islands Tuesday have described how they watched the inrushing sea swallow up coastal towns and villages leaving devastation in its wake.

    At least 111 people are confirmed killed in Samoa, neighboring American Samoa and Tonga. But officials in the Polynesia region have expressed fears the toll will rise as rescue workers struggle to reach outlying villages submerged and flattened by the wave.

    American Samoa resident Frances Faumatu told CNN she had fled to Aoloau, the highest village on the island, as the earthquake shook her house.

    "All of a sudden we heard on the radio everybody had to run for safety," she said. "Right after the quake, the tsunami came."

    Faumatu and others stayed on the mountain for two or three hours until the warning was lifted, watching as the sea swallowed Pago Pago, island's capital, and then receded.

    At least 22 people are confirmed dead in the U.S. island territory. Cars, debris, and parts of buildings were randomly strewn over the landscape where the powerful waters dropped them. See iReporter images of the aftermath » Scores dead, villages flattened in devastating Samoan tsunami - CNN.com

    But in some cases, the sea left nothing behind. "Other villages were taken to the ocean," Faumatu said.

    "I can't even compare the image. It's one thing to see a photo or footage, but just to be there in person is pretty dramatic," Maneafaiga T. Lagafuaina told CNN Wednesday. "American Samoa itself is experiencing a great loss."

    The 8.0-magnitude quake hit the small cluster of Samoan islands in the South Pacific early Tuesday.

    In Samoa, the death toll stands at 82, according to government minister Maulolo Tavita. But he said he feared the number of causalities would continue to rise.

    Around 220,000 people live on the two main islands which make up the nation of Samoa. The population of American Samoa is about 66,000. See a map of the affected region » Scores dead, villages flattened in devastating Samoan tsunami - CNN.com

    Salamo Laumoli, director of health services at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center in Pago Pago, said he feared more fatalities would turn up as rescue workers strived to access parts of the island severed by damaged infrastructure.

    "I thought it was the end of the world," said Laumoli. "I have never felt an earthquake like that before."

    Patients at the hospital were briefly moved to higher ground, but they were soon brought back and the hospital is operating, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency said. The airport in the capital of Pago Pago was also operational and being used for emergency flights, FEMA said.

    A U.S. Coast Guard C-130 cargo plane was scheduled to land Wednesday around noon Eastern time, which coincides with sunrise in the Pacific U.S. protectorate, said Craig Fugate, FEMA administrator. A second C-130 was scheduled to land around 5 p.m. ET.

    "The wave came onshore and washed out people's homes," said Cinta Brown, an American Samoa homeland security official working at the island's emergency operations center.

    The same happened on the hard-hit east and west sides of American Samoa, said Brown, who was standing in a parking lot when her sport utility vehicle began rocking left and right.

    She said she could hear the rattling of metal of a large chain-link fence around the lot. "It shakes you because you know something else is coming," she said.

    The British Foreign Office said one of the dead in American Samoa was a British national, but no other details were provided.

    In Tonga, Lord Tuita, the acting prime minister, said at least seven people had been confirmed dead on the northern island of Niuatoputapu. Three others were missing and four people were being treated for serious injuries, he said.

    "The hospital on the island is reported to have suffered major damage; telephone communications has been cut as a result of damage to equipment and facilities on the island; homes and government buildings have been destroyed; the airport runway has been severely damaged making it impossible for any fixed wing aircraft to land," a statement from the Tongan prime minister's office said.
    Scores dead, villages flattened in devastating Samoan tsunami - CNN.com
     
  10. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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  11. IBRIS

    IBRIS Senior Member Senior Member

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    Video of Tsunami in Samoa: liveleakDOTcom/view?i=39f_1254333986
     
  12. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    The Associated Press: Death toll in Samoas tsunami reaches 150

    Death toll in Samoas tsunami reaches 150


    By ROD McGUIRK and AUDREY McAVOY (AP) – 41 minutes ago

    APIA, Samoa — Samoans searched flattened homes and debris-filled swamps Thursday as more military ships and planes began arriving on the disaster-stricken Pacific islands after an earthquake and tsunami that killed at least 150 people.

    The day after the disaster struck, officials were expecting the death toll to rise as more areas were searched — a process that could take several weeks.

    A Navy frigate carrying two helicopters and medical supplies arrived late Wednesday in American Samoa, and the Air Force dispatched two cargo planes. Australian officials said they will send an air force plane carrying 20 tons of humanitarian aid.

    "This is a devastating earthquake and a devastating tsunami," Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinating officer Kenneth Tingman told reporters in American Samoa. "We know that power is paramount but we are also doing life saving and life sustaining efforts."

    A magnitude 8.0 quake struck off Samoa at 6:48 a.m. local time (1:48 p.m. EDT; 1748 GMT) Tuesday. The islands soon were engulfed by four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet (4 to 6 meters) high that reached up to a mile (1.5 kilometers) inland.

    The Samoas lie about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, just east of the international date line.

    Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele's own village of Lesa was washed away — like many others on Samoa and nearby American Samoa and Tonga. He inspected Wednesday the southeast coast of the main Samoan island of Upolu, the most heavily hit area. He described seeing "complete" devastation. Dazed survivors told of being trapped underwater or flung inland by the tsunami.

    "In some villages absolutely no house was standing. All that was achieved within 10 minutes by the very powerful tsunami," he said.

    "To me it was like a monster — just black water coming to you. It wasn't a wave that breaks, it was a full force of water coming straight," said Luana Tavale, an American Samoa government employee.

    Tuilaepa said the death toll in Samoa was 110, mostly elderly and young children. At least 31 people were killed on American Samoa, Gov. Togiola Tulafono said. Officials in the island nation of Tonga said nine people had been killed.

    Samoan police commander Lilo Maiava predicted the toll would rise.

    "It may take a week, two weeks or even three weeks" to complete the search for the many people still missing, he said.

    The quake was centered about 120 miles (190 kilometers) south of the nation of Samoa, formerly part of New Zealand, which has about 220,000 people, and American Samoa, a U.S. territory of 65,000.

    The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said it issued an alert, but the waves came so quickly that residents only had about 10 minutes to respond.

    New Zealand school teacher Charlie Pearse choked back tears as she spoke to New Zealand's TV One News from an Apia hospital bed in Samoa, recalling how she was trapped underwater and thought she was going to die.

    She was in the back of a truck trying to outrun the tsunami with about 20 children when a wave tossed the truck and it landed on top of them.

    "We all went under the water and I think a number of the children died instantly," Pearse said.

    "I asked, 'Is this my time to come home? Take me home, I'm ready,' and I let my breath out and I took a big gulp of water ... and I don't know, I just popped out (from under the water)," Pearse said.

    On the island of Upolu, taro farmer Tony Fauena said he ran for the hills when the deadly tsunami thundered across the coast while his niece ran to rescue her 6-month-old son. Villagers found the bodies of the mother and son entangled in uprooted trees and debris at the foot of lush mountains 200 yards (meters) from the ocean.

    "Many parents died trying to protect their children," Fauena told The Associated Press from the ruins of a brother's home in the village of Sale Ataga on the southeast coast as he watched police search the same area for four more missing relatives.

    The heavily damaged southeast coast of the island was a stretch of flattened, mud-swept villages. Mattresses hung from trees. Police searched for survivors amid pulverized homes and bodies scattered in a swamp. Several tourist resorts were wiped out, authorities said.

    In Tonga, government spokesman Lopeti Senituli said parts of an island have disappeared, with two of the island's three villages virtually flattened.

    "The hospital on the island has been severely damaged as well as the airport runway ... meaning no fixed-wing aircraft can land," he said. A Tongan patrol boat has been sent with water, food and shelter for more than 1,000 residents.

    U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Barry Compagnoni, whose jurisdiction includes the port of Pago Pago, said a disaster assessment team was to arrive later Wednesday from Honolulu and will work with local officials to analyze the damage.

    Power in Pago Pago was expected to be out in some areas for up to a month, and officials said some 2,200 people were in seven shelters across the island.

    The waves lifted a building housing a hardware store and carried it across a two-lane highway. Crews later found the two employees' bodies in the debris.

    Red Cross relief worker Garete Wolfe at a hilltop camp in Samoa said water was the most critical need.

    "The water lines are all ... damaged, and with this water problem we face waterborne disease," Wolfe said.

    New Zealand provided 1 million New Zealand dollars ($710,000) in immediate aid to Samoa, Tonga and the Samoan Red Cross on Thursday. Acting Prime Minister Bill English said Prime Minister John Key is cutting short his U.S. vacation to fly to Samoa to inspect the damage.

    The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs said three Australians were among the dead. The British Foreign Office said one Briton was missing and presumed dead.

    While the earthquake and tsunami were big, they were not as large as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 230,000 in a dozen countries across Asia.

    McGuirk reported from Apia, McAvoy from Pago Pago, American Samoa. Also contributing were Associated Press writers Fili Sagapolutele in Pago Pago, Ray Lilley in Wellington, New Zealand; Tanalee Smith in Adelaide, Australia; Jaymes Song, Mark Niesse, Herbert A. Sample in Honolulu, Cara Anna in Bangkok, Amy Taxin in Santa Ana, Calif., and Seth Borenstein and Michele Salcedo in Washington.
     
  13. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    The Associated Press: Major developments in Samoan tsunami aftermath

    Major developments in Samoan tsunami aftermath

    By The Associated Press (AP) – 2 hours ago

    _ THE DEAD: The number of dead rose to 170, including 129 in Samoa, 32 in American Samoa and nine in Tonga.

    _ THE MISSING: In hard-hit Leone in American Samoa, about two dozen troops searched through muddy debris and rubble for a 6-year-old boy who vanished on his way to school. The boy lost two sisters in the tsunami.

    _ THE NFL: NFL players of Samoan background got an update from the U.S. government and the Red Cross on recovery efforts. Five current players were born in American Samoa, and around 30 players have ties to the territory. More have ties to Tonga.

    _ THE RESPONSE: A team of over 245 responders from the U.S. government is on the ground in American Samoa. FEMA has brought 20,000 meals, 13,000 liters of water and 800 tents.

    _ LOOTING: Authorities called on village mayors to be vigilant about looting following widespread reports of theft after the disaster.
     
  14. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    The Associated Press: Military searches for bodies, brings aid to Samoas

    Military searches for bodies, brings aid to Samoas

    By ROD McGUIRK and AUDREY McAVOY (AP) – 9 hours ago

    LALOMANU, Samoa — The relief effort in the tsunami-stricken Samoas entered its fourth day Friday as medical teams gave tetanus shots and antibiotics to survivors with infected wounds and some frightened residents who fled to the hills after the disaster vowed never to return to their decimated seaside villages.

    Grieving survivors began to bury their loved ones, while others gathered under a traditional meeting house to hear a government minister discuss plans for a mass funeral and burial next week. Many survivors wore face masks to reduce the growing stench of rot.

    The death toll from Tuesday's earthquake and tsunami rose to 169 as searchers found more bodies in Samoa, where 129 were confirmed dead, police commissioner Lilo Maiava told The Associated Press. Another 31 were killed in the U.S. territory of American Samoa and nine in Tonga.

    Maiava said drowning appeared to be the main cause of death, and some bodies were still being plucked from the sea. Police dug others from sand, mud and debris. Maiava said the search for bodies could continue for another three weeks.

    A refrigerated freight container was used as a temporary morgue for the scores of bodies at a Samoan hospital.

    Among the hardest-hit areas was the village of Leone in American Samoa, where four elderly women were swept out to sea as they gathered on the shore to weave Samoan mats and other artifacts. A 6-year-old girl is also feared dead in the village.

    The United States, Australia and New Zealand sent in supplies and troops, including a U.S. Navy frigate carrying two helicopters for search-and-rescue efforts. The Hawaii Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force flew three cargo planes to American Samoa carrying 100 Navy and Army guard personnel and reservists.

    President Barack Obama called American Samoa Gov. Togiola Tulafono on Thursday to convey his condolences to the families of those killed, the governor said.

    "It was nice that he called personally," Tulafono said, adding that he thanked the president for quickly declaring a disaster in the U.S. territory.

    Many residents who raced up hillsides as the tsunami closed in remained too scared to return to their villages. More headed to the hills Wednesday night after an aftershock shook the region.

    "It's a scary feeling, and a lot of them said they are not coming to the coastal area," Red Cross health coordinator Goretti Wulf said near the flattened village of Lalomanu on the devastated south coast of Samoa's main island, Upolu. "The lesson they learned has made them stay away."

    Workers at Lalomanu's makeshift emergency supply base began carting water, food, tarps and clothes to 3,000 people in the hills.

    Wulf said drinking water was the most pressing problem. It is the end of Samoa's dry season, when rain is scarce, and the water pipes that supply the villages were destroyed.

    Military vehicles brought food, water and medicine and medical teams gave tetanus shots and antibiotics to survivors with infected wounds.

    Samoan government minister Fiana Naomi asked around 400 grieving relatives for permission to hold a mass funeral next Tuesday. She said the government would provide free coffins for the 103 bodies in the morgue.

    She said other bodies had already been buried due to advanced decomposition.

    One family in Lalomanu held a burial Thursday, placing seven relatives aged 2 to 55 in a single, hastily dug grave. One body had been retrieved from the ocean only hours earlier. A young mother, Sina Edmund Taufua, kissed the cheeks of her dead son and daughter, ages 6 and 5, at the edge of the grave as her bandaged arm was supported by a relative.

    The family dead were buried without coffins, their bodies covered with a woven mat, during a service that blended traditional Samoan culture with a Christian church ceremony.

    They were buried next to the fresh graves of the family patriarch and a 7-year-old relative — other victims of the tsunami who were buried Tuesday.

    With 13 relatives dead, the Taufua clan believes they are among the worst affected by the disaster.

    "I'm not sure the word 'shock' fully describes our sense of loss," relative Ben Taufua said. "Nothing makes sense at all. ... The beach where all of this happened, all those lives were lost, it was paradise on Earth."

    The Samoas, which lie about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, have breathtaking scenery. Majestic beaches give way to volcano-carved mountainsides and tropical forests are dotted with taro and coconut farms.

    Before the disaster struck, the majority of the population in American Samoa lived below the poverty line. Tourism, along with tuna canneries and coconut plantations, represent the bulk of economic activity.

    New Zealanders Joseph Bursin and Nicky Fryar said they scrambled to reach high ground as the tsunami surged toward their beachfront vacation resort in Samoa. Their sandals were slipping off as they sprinted up a rock-covered hill and climbed over a lagoon full of mud.

    They remember the noise — the roar of the water, the clanging of metal roofing smashing against cars, the sound of buildings collapsing.

    "We had about 15 or 20 seconds before the water came in underneath us," Bursin said. "There were people behind us who didn't make it and were taken by the water."

    In nearby Tonga, National Disaster Management Office deputy director Alfred Soakai said 90 percent of the buildings on the northern island of Niuas were washed away, with the local hospital destroyed.

    Villagers in Niuas on Thursday received their first relief supplies of food, water, clothing, tarps and some bedding. Four seriously injured villagers were flown to a hospital in the capital, Nuku'alofa.

    McGuirk reported from Lalomanu, McAvoy from Pago Pago, American Samoa. Also contributing were Associated Press writers Fili Sagapolutele in Pago Pago, Ray Lilley in Wellington, New Zealand; Jaymes Song, Mark Niesse, Herbert A. Sample in Honolulu, and Sarah Skidmore in Portland, Oregon.
     
  15. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    The Associated Press: NFL players get briefing on situation in Samoas

    NFL players get briefing on situation in Samoas

    By FREDERIC J. FROMMER (AP) – 5 hours ago

    WASHINGTON — NFL players of Samoan background got an update from the U.S. government and the Red Cross Friday on recovery efforts in the tsunami-stricken Samoas.

    "There's a lot more Samoans in the NFL now, and it hit a lot of us, it really hit home," said Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Domata Peko, an American Samoa native, following a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency and Red Cross officials. "We're real concerned, and we're going to do all we can to raise as much money as we can to help out the people of Samoa."

    He encouraged people to go the Red Cross Web site to aid victims of Tuesday's earthquake and tsunami.

    Peko is one of five current players born in American Samoa, and around 30 players have ties to American Samoa, according to the NFL. He's also one of three Bengals players tracking down family and friends in their homeland. Peko spoke to reporters along with former player Vai Sikahema and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, among others.

    Sikahema, a native of nearby Tonga, said he hoped to bring a group of retired players to the region in the next week or two.

    "We hope to go down there and help rally the troops and rally the people," he said, "because they so highly regard their sons who come and have made a name for themselves in the NFL."

    Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Paul Soliai mourned the deaths of at least two relatives in the Samoas this week — and feared the family toll could get worse.

    David Krichavsky, the NFL's director of community relations, said the league put together the briefing at the players' request.

    "At this point, we're assessing exactly what we're going to do charitably," he said.

    Also on the call with officials was former NFL quarterback Jack Thompson, a native of American Samoa known as the "The Throwin' Samoan."
    On the Net:

    * FEMA: By FREDERIC J. FROMMER (AP) – 5 hours ago

    WASHINGTON — NFL players of Samoan background got an update from the U.S. government and the Red Cross Friday on recovery efforts in the tsunami-stricken Samoas.

    "There's a lot more Samoans in the NFL now, and it hit a lot of us, it really hit home," said Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Domata Peko, an American Samoa native, following a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency and Red Cross officials. "We're real concerned, and we're going to do all we can to raise as much money as we can to help out the people of Samoa."

    He encouraged people to go the Red Cross Web site to aid victims of Tuesday's earthquake and tsunami.

    Peko is one of five current players born in American Samoa, and around 30 players have ties to American Samoa, according to the NFL. He's also one of three Bengals players tracking down family and friends in their homeland. Peko spoke to reporters along with former player Vai Sikahema and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, among others.

    Sikahema, a native of nearby Tonga, said he hoped to bring a group of retired players to the region in the next week or two.

    "We hope to go down there and help rally the troops and rally the people," he said, "because they so highly regard their sons who come and have made a name for themselves in the NFL."

    Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Paul Soliai mourned the deaths of at least two relatives in the Samoas this week — and feared the family toll could get worse.

    David Krichavsky, the NFL's director of community relations, said the league put together the briefing at the players' request.

    "At this point, we're assessing exactly what we're going to do charitably," he said.

    Also on the call with officials was former NFL quarterback Jack Thompson, a native of American Samoa known as the "The Throwin' Samoan."
    On the Net:

    * FEMA: http://www.fema.gov/
    * Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/
     
  16. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    The Associated Press: Focus in Samoa moves from rescue to survivor aid

    Focus in Samoa moves from rescue to survivor aid

    By AUDREY McAVOY and ROD McGUIRK (AP) – 20 hours ago

    APIA, Samoa — Samoan officials shifted their focus from rescuing lives to providing survivors with food, water and power, but stressed it didn't mean they were giving up on the missing days after earthquake-triggered waves killed 170 in the region.

    Electricity and water services were restored in about half of the affected villages in Samoa and American Samoa, and almost all of the territory was expected to have power from generators within three to five days, said Ken Tingman, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's federal coordinating officer.

    FEMA will also establish an office to provide housing assistance to residents displaced after Tuesday's earthquake and tsunami, said American Samoa Gov. Togiola Tulafono.

    Taule'alea Laavasa, chairman of the Samoan government's National Disaster Advisory Committee, said Friday that relief work was going well with the help of neighbors including New Zealand and Australia.

    But many survivors refused to return to their villages.

    "They're scared; a lot of them have been psychologically affected by seeing their relations die in huge numbers," Laavasa said.

    The death toll rose to 170, including 129 in Samoa, 32 in the nearby U.S. territory of American Samoa and nine in Tonga.

    Tingman said that although they are now focusing more on helping survivors, it didn't mean the missing were being given up for dead.

    "You never lose hope," he said.

    Some Samoans have been forced to forgo burial rituals because their villages are gone. Other families have had to speed up the burial process because loved ones' bodies were found in such decomposed states.

    In Samoa, the government has proposed a mass funeral and burial next week.

    The village of Leone, the center of Christianity on the island, was a bleak landscape of rubble. The beach meeting houses that had been the center of cultural rituals and family meetings were destroyed. An overturned van was jammed into the roof of one beach house.

    Leone residents estimate the tsunami destroyed about one-third of the village, which has a population of 3,000. The victims were mostly elderly or toddlers. Four villagers were killed while making crafts on the shore.

    About two dozen soldiers and airmen from the Hawaii National Guard had the heart-wrenching task Friday of searching through the village's muddy debris for a missing 6-year-old boy named Columbus Sulivai.

    Bill Hopkinson, a village chief, said the boy had been on the way to school with his sisters. "When the earthquake hit, instead of seeking higher ground, they came running back home," Hopkinson said. Both girls died.

    Samoa's tourism industry, meanwhile, said it feared a "second tsunami" of vacation cancellations after the deadly waves wiped out some of the South Pacific country's most idyllic white-sand beaches and resorts.

    Tourism is Samoa's largest industry, and travel industry representatives visiting the main island's wrecked southeast coast said Friday about one-quarter of the tourist accommodations had been destroyed.

    Nynette Sass, chief executive of the Samoa Hotel Association, said the industry was alarmed by anecdotal reports of mass vacation cancellations since Tuesday's disaster.

    "If substantial numbers of tourists start canceling, that will be like having a second tsunami on us," Sass said. The industry accounts for 25 percent of the country's gross domestic product, she said.

    Samoan tourist industry representatives said the damage on the southeast coastline of the main island of Upolu included four resorts and more than 20 family operations that rented simple traditional huts, known as fale.

    Sass said many travelers did not realize the tsunami devastated a relatively small part of the coast, though the worst-hit beach area, between the villages of Saleapaga and Lalomanu, was widely regarded by tourists as the most beautiful.

    "It's sad that we've had to try to convince people that it's not the whole country that's flooded, infrastructure is still in place and the cleanup is going really fast," she said.

    Sass said government assistance would be vital to rebuilding a tourism industry that is worth 300 million Samoan tala ($130 million) a year.

    McGuirk reported from Lalomanu, Samoa. Also contributing were Associated Press writers Fili Sagapolutele in Pago Pago, Tanalee Smith in Adelaide, Australia, and Jaymes Song and Greg Small in Honolulu.
     

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