Samoan Islands 8.2-magnitude earthquake triggers tsunami, at least 111 die

2009-09-30 19:09:50 (GMT) ( - Top Stories World News News)

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Samoan tsunami - AP photo

Albuquerque, New Mexico ( — A massive 8.0-magnitude earthquake rumbled beneath the Samoan Islands early Tuesday, triggering giant tsunami waves on Wednesday which left over 100 people dead and devastated villages as they now lay flattened.

A vast emergency effort is now underway to help the small cluster of Samoan islands in the South Pacific.

Island officials say that at least 111 people have been confirmed been, including 22 people in American Samoa, 82 in Samoa, and seven in Tonga.

They cautioned that the death toll is sure to increase as rescue teams begin to uncover the debris on the outlying villages.

“I thought it was the end of the world,” said Dr. Salamo Laumoli, the director of health services at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Tropical Medical Center in American Samoa. “I have never felt an earthquake like that before.”

According to the Associated Press, “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.”

The U.S. wasted no time in sending emergency aid to its territory of American Samoa.

At the U.S. capitol in Washington, President Obama declared American Samoa a major disaster area and in a statement released early Wednesday, Obama said that he and his wife, Michelle, “will keep those who have lost so much in our thoughts and prayers.” - Press Release Distribution Service


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