From: Josephine Latu of Pacific Media Watch
Published September 30, 2009 06:45 AM

Tsunami Hits South Pacific

A huge tsunami struck American Samoa and Samoa early day, causing many deaths in both Pacific island groups.

Reports from Sky News put the death toll in American Samoa at 14, while Radio New Zealand reports at least five confirmed deaths in Samoa so far.

The tsunami was generated by a powerful subsea quake measuring 8.3 in magnitude which struck at 6.48am about 190km southwest of American Samoa and 200km from Samoa, according to the US Geological Service.

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An aftershock quake measuring 5.6-magnitude happened 20 minutes later.

Entire coastal villages have reportedly been "wiped out", including the village of Manono in Samoa, a local journalist told Radio New Zealand.

Samoa resident Theresa Falele Dussey said houses and cars were swept away by the huge waves, measuring 0.7m to 1.57m above sea level, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.

Residents have fled inland amid power outages and jammed phone lines, while students reportedly ransacked a petrol station and convenience store in Pago Pago.

Samoa Observer editorial executive Russell Hunter said law enforcement officers had visited bus stops, urging people not to board buses but to get to higher ground.

Article continues: http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2009/09/huge-tsunami-sweeps-many-to-their-death-in-american-samoa-and-samoa/

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