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Author Topic: Samoan earthquakes cause tsunamis, destruction and deaths  (Read 13868 times)

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Tavita Tusitala

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Samoan earthquakes cause tsunamis, destruction and deaths
« on: September 29, 2009, 03:40:02 PM »
Samoan Islands earthquake generates big waves and destruction

An earthquake with a magnitude of 8.3 struck in the Samoan Islands region Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, prompting warnings for islands around the epicenter but sparing Hawaii and other outlying areas.

 The quake generated three separate tsunami waves that are spreading, the largest of which measures 5.1 feet from sea level height, said Vindell Hsu, a geophysicist with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.

Fifteen minutes after the quake Samoa received four large tsunami near 12-20 feet high that inundated some areas, particularly the island of Upolu, and in American Samoa, Leone Village and the Pago Pago harbor area. Many smaller villages were wiped out and an unkown number of people are missing.

A tsunami warning was in effect for American Samoa, Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji, among others in the South Pacific archipelago, according to a bulletin from the center.

A tsunami watch was issued for islands farther from the epicenter, including Hawaii and Papua New Guinea.
The quake was recorded at 6:48 a.m. (1:28 p.m. ET) at a depth of about 7.4 miles (11.9 km), the USGS reported.
The airports in American Samoa and Samoa were closed in anticipation of a tsunami, but for now, "we haven't seen any big waves at the moment," Samoa airport employee Alefosao Mapulino said.

Eyewitness reports:
Folks evacuating Pago Pago to Aloau mountain.
as the lower harbor and basy area were flooded with sea water
Some buildings including the post office were been flooded.
Based on the geographic location, the bay area can swell up and fill like a basin and many people were heading up to higher ground.


Tavita Tusitala

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Re: Samoa tsunami kills 14 near Leone Village on Tutuila
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2009, 03:45:19 PM »
UPDATE: PAGO PAGO, American Samoa - Officials in American Samoa say at least 14 people were killed when a tsunami swept ashore in the South Pacific country after a powerful earthquake hit nearby.

Mase Akapo, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, says the deaths occurred in four different villages on the main island of Tutuila, with six in the western area of Leone.

An unspecified number of people also were killed in neighboring (Western) Samoa.

The earthquake had a magnitude of up to 8.3 as it struck between Samoa and American Samoa around dawn Tuesday, sending terrified residents fleeing for higher ground.

Tavita Tusitala

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Re: American and Western Samoa suffer widespread damage
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2009, 03:51:05 PM »
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center put the quake's magnitude at 8.3 and issued a general alert for the South Pacific region, from American Samoa to New Zealand. It said there were indications a tsunami wave could be "destructive" along some coastlines. Several hours away from the epicenter, Hawaii was put under a tsunami watch, with five emergency centers opened as a precaution.

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 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. There will be people in a great lot of need 'round here."

A series of four 15-foot tsunami wave swept into Pago Pago, capital of American Samoa, shortly after the earthquake, sending sea water surging inland about 100 yards (meters) before receding, leaving some cars and debris stuck in mud. Electricity outages were reported, and telephone lines were jammed.

The staff of the port ran to higher ground, and police soon came by, telling residents to get inland. Several students were seen ransacking a gas station/convenience store.

In Fagatogo, water reached the waterfront town's meeting field and covered portions of the main highway, which also was plagued by rock slides.

In Samoa, the powerful quake jolted people awake.

"It was pretty strong; it was long and lasted at least two minutes," one resident told local radio.

"It's the strongest I have felt, and we ran outside. You could see all the trees and houses were shaking," he said.

Sulili Dusi told New Zealand's National Radio that "everything dropped on the floor and we thought the house was going to go down as well. Thank God, it didn't." Along with neighbors, they fled to high ground.

She said the tsunami hit the south side of the island, and some "cars have been taken." She did not elaborate, but added "we just thank God no life has been taken yet."

Another resident, Dean Phillips, said the southern coast of Upolu island had been struck by the tsunami.

"The police are sending everybody up to high ground," he said.

Local media said they had reports of some landslides in the Solosolo region of the main Samoan island of Upolu and damage to plantations in the countryside outside Apia.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/29/samoa-earthquake-triggers_n_303304.html

Tavita Tusitala

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Re: Live quake location maps
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2009, 03:59:02 PM »
10 earthquakes reported to today near Samoa by USGS.
USGS has live map updates plotted on maps here:


Tavita Tusitala

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Re: Villages wiped out by killer tsunami in Samoa
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2009, 04:10:41 PM »
Samoan Villages wiped out by killer tsunami

At least 19 people have died, more are reported to have been swept out to sea, and whole villages have been wiped out after a powerful 8.3-magnitude earthquake sent tsunami waves smashing into the coast of Samoa this morning.

At least 14 people have been reported dead in American Samoa and at least five in Samoa. There were reports that three children died in Samoa as the tsunami flattened houses and swept away cars.

There are also fears for the fate of the island communities between Samoa and New Zealand, with three-meterwaves reported

A  reporter for Radio Polynesia told Radio New Zealand that villages were "wiped out" by the tsunami and people had been reported missing.

The Samoan capital Apia has been evacuated and thousands of people have been moved to higher ground. Neighbouring American Samoa has also been severely damaged by the 'quake and tsunami and it is expected casualties will be high.

A spokesman for New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says the minister's office has received reports of five people dead in Samoa and "many more washed out to sea".

The general manager of Southseas Broadcasting, Joey Cummings, said cars were swept out to sea and the water reached the second floor of the Pago Plaza building in the American Samoa capital Pago Pago.

Vincent Ilui from the village of Leone in American Samoa says the tsunami struck so quickly some people were drenched when they arrived on higher ground.

"Currently it's been announced on the radio, from the emergency operating centre ... that there's been 14 reported deaths so far and six of them are here in my village," he said.

Olga Keil, a journalist working in Samoa, described the damage.

"We've got reports from the south-eastern side of the main island, where houses have been completely flattened, vehicles have been swept out to sea, boulders that have fallen of the mountain along the coastal areas," she said.

"But mainly a lot of houses in the villages on the coastal areas have been flattened by the waves."

Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance Bob McMullan says a number of Australians have been injured but they have all received appropriate treatment and are stable.

"All of them have been able to contact their own families directly and none of them have said to the High Commission they need any special or extra assistance," he said.

"The reports from Australians suggest it was a very frightening event for people, both the extent of the earthquake and the impact of the tsunami, and we are now having to make very rapid contact with everybody."

Australian Nick Rees told ABC News Breakfast that his parents had called him to tell him the tsunami had hit the southern side of the main Samoan island, completely destroying their hotel.

"They've lost everything they have ... [but] they're alive and they're OK, my dad has broken some ribs," he said, adding that some people were missing from the hotel.

Mr Rees said he thought the guests had very little warning.

"There were people from their hotel missing... I'm assuming if dad's injured and there are people missing it was pretty quick," he said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said waves 1.57 metres tall hit American Samoa, while 0.7 metre waves were recorded in Samoa.

(Note: Fifteen minutes after the quake Samoa received four large tsunami near 12-20 feet high that inundated some areas and wiped out whole villages near the ocean.)

Russell Hunter, a journalist with the Samoa Observer, says the quake lasted a minute-and-a-half.

"There doesn't seem to be any damage around the capital. We are told there have been deaths on other side of the island as a result of the following tsunami - so far we are told three children in a small village on the other side of the island," he said.

Australian Miyako Armitage was working out in the gym of an Apia Hotel in Samoa when the earthquake hit.

"I thought that the men were rattling the weights a little bit too loudly, but it turned out to be quite a big earthquake," she said.

"So we ran out, as we stood around in the middle of the road we saw the building swaying quite a lot. That was quite scary."

The USA's Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre had earlier issued a tsunami warning for a large swathe of the South Pacific including Fiji, New Zealand and Tonga after the US Geological Survey (USGS) reported a 7.9 magnitude quake.

The centre later said an 8.3 magnitude quake had been recorded at a depth of 33 kilometres. It was not immediately clear if this was the same quake and the USGS's website did not provide exact details of its location.

In its preliminary earthquake report, the US Geological Survey put the epicentre 204 kilometres south-south-west of Samoa's capital Apia and at a depth of 85 kilometres.

The USGS said the region was struck by a 5.6 magnitude quake about 20 minutes after the first.

By Correspondent Kerri Ritchie and reporters

Tavita Tusitala

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Re: Samoa Tsunami toll rising to 113
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2009, 02:02:23 PM »
Tsunamis sparked by an early morning earthquake have devastated the Pacific nations of Samoa and American Samoa killing more than at least 113 people, including three Australians, and leaving at least 1,000 displaced.

"There has to be more than a hundred, the last count was at 2pm (1100 AEST Wednesday) and there were 84 bodies," a worker at Samoa's Tupua Tamasese Hospital told Agence France-Presse.

Officials said 22 had died in American Samoa and another seven in Tonga.

Dozens more people were missing and feared dead but officials in the South Pacific islands said communications were down to many outlying villages.

In American Samoa, about 100 kilometres from Samoa, Homeland Security director Michael Sala said the tsunami which followed about 20 minutes after the earthquake, did most of the damage.

"We have 22 confirmed dead and it could go much higher," said Sala, who added the wall of water, which he estimated at 25-feet (7.5 metres) high, swept ashore demolishing buildings.

The eastern part of American Samoa was without power and water supplies after the devastating earthquake, which struck at 6.48am on Tuesday (0348 AEST Wednesday).

In Tonga, government officials said there were seven dead and three missing on the small island of Niuatoputapu.

The officials flew over the island from the capital Nuku'alofa but were unable to land because of damage to the airstrip.

They said they would make their way there by sea overnight to assess the full extent of the damage.

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said he was "shocked beyond belief" by the devastation.

Villages were wiped out, buildings were toppled, and thousands of people fled to higher ground after the offshore quake struck, followed by giant waves which swept cars out to sea.

"So much has gone. So many people are gone," a distressed PM Malielegaoi said of the "unimaginable" tragedy as he flew from Auckland to the Samoan capital of Apia.

"I'm so shocked, so saddened by all the loss."


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