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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tsunamis kill over 200 people in Samoa

The 8.3 magnitude earthquake Tuesday between Samoa and American Samoa generated a Tsunami that hit these islands essentially without warning.

Residents Flee Tsunami After Strong Quake (AP)



Death toll in tsunamis nears 200, could go higher (Reuters)


SIUMU, Samoa, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Rescuers fished bloated corpses from the South Pacific off Samoa and pulled bodies from the mud and twisted rubble of devastated islands as the death toll from a series of tsunamis neared 200 on Thursday.

Officials feared it could go much higher.

A spotter aircraft circled the ocean looking for bodies, dropping smoke flares to pinpoint their location for a boat to collect. Within an hour five were hauled ashore.

The confirmed death toll stood at 149 in Samoa, 31 on American Samoa and nine on neighboring Tonga, but officials feared that whole towns had been destroyed on outlying islands and hundreds of people remained missing.

Some 20 villages were destroyed in Samoa and scores flattened in nearby American Samoa.

--snip--

Four powerful tsunamis generated by a strong magnitude 8.0 undersea earthquake crashed into the islands on Tuesday, laying waste to a paradise of palm trees, resorts and pristine beaches. The waves, at least 6 metres (20 feet) high, ripped buildings apart and washed people out to sea, some still in their beds, survivors said.

The following video shows some fo the extensive damage caused by these waves.

First Person: Samoa Tsunami Damage Extensive (AP)



This video shows the water coming in. I don't know how they got this video but no words can describe what is happening here.

Samoa Tsunami video at American Samoan islands location 2009



Finally, nobody can describe what happened better than someone who was there:

The Day of the Tsunami (NY Times)
WE awoke on Tuesday morning to the house shaking. Earthquakes in this part of the world usually last for a minute or two. But this time the house shook for five minutes. The children and I left our beds and ran outside to the clearing in front of our house, where our neighbors had already gathered. Then just as suddenly as it had started, everything became quiet, and we went back inside.

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