Tsunami Hits American Samoa Following 8.0 Pacific Earthquake, 100 Killed
[Editor's Note: The triggering earthquake occurred about 125 miles south of Samoa in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday morning, September 29, 2009. The tsunami hit shore about 30 minutes later, roughly 7 AM local time.
100 people reported dead so far. Were they innocent victims of Nature or is something darker going on? The first thing I have to ask myself: was this a natural earthquake or was it artificially induced? Was it actually an earthquake? Or an undersea nuclear device similar to the type used to trigger the Boxing Day tsunami on December 26, 2004 as reported by the late Joe Vialls?
In earlier years, one could glean valuable, tell tale information from internet seismograph data that could reveal artificial influences, but today we see that many seismograph web sites no longer provide real time data. I wonder why?..Ken Adachi]
September 30, 2009
APIA, Samoa - A powerful earthquake in the South Pacific hurled a massive tsunami at the shores of Samoa and American Samoa, flattening villages and sweeping cars and people out to sea, leaving at least 99 dead and dozens missing.
Survivors fled the fast-churning water for higher ground and remained huddled there hours after the quake struck early Tuesday. Signs of devastation were everywhere, with a giant boat washed ashore lying on the edge of a highway and floodwaters swallowing up cars and homes.
The quake, with a magnitude between 8.0 and 8.3, struck around dawn about 125 miles from Samoa, an island nation of 180,000 people located about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. It struck about 120 miles from neighboring American Samoa, a U.S. territory that is home to 65,000 people.
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Four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet high roared ashore on American Samoa, reaching up to a mile inland, Mike Reynolds, superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa, was quoted as saying by a parks service spokeswoman.
Hampered by power and communications outages, officials struggled to determine damage and casualties.
Samoan police commissioner Lilo Maiava told The Associated Press that police there had confirmed 63 deaths but that officials were still searching the devastated areas, so the number of deaths might rise soon.
Hundreds of injured people were being treated by health workers, and people were still struggling into centers seeking treatment, Maiava said.
At least 30 people were killed on American Samoa, Gov. Togiola Tulafono said, adding that the toll was expected to rise as emergency crews were recovering bodies overnight.
"I don't think anybody is going to be spared in this disaster," said Tulafono, who was in Hawaii for a conference.
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.
‘So many people are gone’
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi looked shaken Wednesday on board a flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to the Samoan capital of Apia.
"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."
Gov. Tulafono told reporters in Hawaii that a member of his extended family was among the dead in American Samoa.
Because the closeness of the community, "each and every family is going to be affected by someone who's lost their life," he said as he boarded a Coast Guard C-130 plane in Hawaii to return home. The plane, which also carried FEMA officials and aid, was scheduled to arrive at about 7 a.m. local time (2 p.m. EDT) .
Authorities in Tonga confirmed at least six additional people dead in the island nation west of the Samoas, New Zealand's acting Prime Minister Bill English said. He said Tongan officials told him that four people were missing after the tsunami swept ashore on the northern island of Niua.
"There are a considerable number of people who've been swept out to sea and are unaccounted for," English said. "We don't have information about the full impact and we do have some real concern that over the next 12 hours the picture could look worse rather than better."
A New Zealand P3 Orion maritime surveillance airplane had reached the region Wednesday afternoon and had searched for survivors off the coast, he said. It was expected to resume searching at first light.
The Samoa Red Cross said it had opened five temporary shelters and estimated that about 15,000 people were affected by the tsunami.
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