29 September 2009

Over 100 feared dead in tsunami-hit Samoa

American Samoa Gov. Togiola Tulafono addresses members of the media at the American Samoan Government office in Honolulu Tuesday Sept. 29, 2009. A powerful Pacific Ocean earthquake spawned towering tsunami waves that swept ashore on Samoa and American Samoa early Tuesday, flattening villages, killing at least 39 people and leaving dozens of workers missing at devastated National Park Service facilities.- AP Photo

A main road in the downtown area of Fagatogo, is seen flooded by water from a tsunami located in the main town area in American Samoa on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009 - AP Photo

A boat from Malaloa Marina is seen on the edge of the main highway in the village of Fagatogo, in American Samoa on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Fili Sagapolutele]

A car is seen pushed up against a bridge after strong sea water from the tsunami filled a small stream in the village of Fagatogo, located in the main town area in American Samoa on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009

SYDNEY - The tsunami death toll triggered by an 8.3 magnitude earthquake, which rocked Samoa and other Pacific islands, could reach 100, according to Red Cross and media reports.

Locals in Samoa have been told more than 100, and possibly “hundreds”, may have been killed in the tsunami that hit the island this morning.

The confirmed death toll from the South Pacific earthquake and tsunami is at 36, with a minimum of 14 reported dead in both Samoa and American Samoa; The Sydney Morning Herald quoted reports, as saying.

But media in Samoa says the tsunami had devastated villages on the south of the island, and the number of people feared dead was far higher.

“It’s like nothing we’ve ever experienced before,” said Tasi Uesele, who in the Samoan capital, Apia.

“There’s unconfirmed reports that are on TV right now that up to 100 people, including tourists, that are missing right now because of the waves that hit hard,” she said.

A large number of the dead were believed to be from Lalomanu, a village on Samoa’s southeastern tip popular with tourists, she said.

“We don’t know if the 100 are from people swept out [to sea] or from when tremors shook and people were buried in their own houses. We just saw some footage of dead people being brought into the hospital … we’ve only seen about three or four dead and a lot of people wounded,” Tasi added.

A Samoan schoolgirl whose village was evacuated to the mountains around Apia also said local radio reported hundreds of people were killed when the tsunami hit Lalomanu.

“They’re still looking for other people, missing people, they said hundreds. There are no houses, clothes, and stuff is all everywhere,” said Sulu Bentley, who lives in Leauvaa, 15 minutes from Apia.

Tasi said the first wave hit so quickly after the tremor that locals had little time to react. (ANI) - http://blog.taragana.com

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