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2009 Samoan Islands Earthquake & Tsunmai

About 2009 Samoan Islands Earthquake

A 8.0 Earthquake has shaken the Samoan Islands underwater at about 125 miles south of Apia, Samoa, according to the United States Geologic Survey at 6.48 am local time (17:48:11 UTC). Few reports say the magnitude of the quake is 8.3. The quake is reported to be epicentered between the Islands of Samoa and the American Samoa.

Location of the Earthquake

According to the USGS, the quake is centered as follows: 185 km (115 miles) ENE of Hihifo, Tonga; 195 km (125 miles) S of APIA, Samoa; 705 km (435 miles) NNE of NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga; 2700 km (1670 miles) NNE of Auckland, New Zealand

The Samoan Islands Earthquake & Tsunmai

The earthquake is first reported to be at 7.9 magnitude. Two hours later the magnitude is upgraded to 8.0. This high intensity earthquake has rose the water to about 5.1 feet above normal sea level and has engulfed the American Samoa capital city Pago Pago. Pago Pago is a harbor town.

National Park of American Samoa Superintendent Mike Reynolds said that four tsunami waves as high as six meters are felt.

Communication systems are damaged making it difficult to reach people in the region over telephones difficult.

Update at 4:45 PM HST: The American Samoa's Governor's office at Dillingham Boulevard office is receiving hundreds of calls by people who want to know about their loved ones. Gov. Togiola Tulafono was in Hawaii to attend some meetings. The Governor is expected to return back by Tuesday night on a military airlift.

The American Samoa's delegate to the US CongressEni Faleomavaega is reported to be saying that some of the areas of are only a few feet above sea level. September 30, 2009 at 04:24:16 UTC


Initial reports say that about 100 people have died in the incident. At least 20 confirmed deaths are reported so far. Water has flooded the entire region. Looking at the damage that happened, it is likely that over 100 deaths and over a hundred injuries would be reported from the region.

Update at Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 03:29:25: A report by Bloomberg is reporting that the deaths would be at 120 with 26 deaths already reported in Samoa and 19 in American Samoa. A large number of casualities are expected from the Talamoa village.

Samoan police commissioner Lilo Maiava, speaking to a global media outlet, reported that there are 63 confirmed deaths. September 30, 2009 at 05:52:34 UTC

Australians in Samoa or American Samoa

The Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith said seven Australians have been injured and that they are getting treatment at a hospital. Mr. Smith has just arrived at Singapore when he heard about the news. DFAT hotline for Australians in Samoa or American Samoa: 1300 555 135

International reaction / Relief operations

International Development Assistance Parliamentary Secretary Bob McMullan said they have not yet received any request for international assistance.

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Craig Fugate said a team is on its way to American Samoa to take part in assistance operations. He said Emergency provisions from the Hawaii distribution centre will be used if needed. A US Coast Guard C-130 plane with people from the Coast Guard and FEMA is on its way with aid delivery. New Zealand is sending an Orion maritime search plane to help in victims search and rescue process.

American Samoa and Samoa Tsunami Relief Fund.

A release from the American Samoa's Governor office says they are accepting relief aid and donations. Relief goods, rice, bottled water and other non-perishable food can be delivered to the the office at 1427 Dillingham Blvd. Suite 210, Above Boulevard Saimin. Funds can be transfered to American Samoa and Samoa Tsunami Relief Fund at any Bank of Hawaii branch. (September 29, 2009 4:45 PM HST)

Warnings and Alerts for various regions

Alert for US West Coast and Alaska

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center has released an advisory that a tsunami that is capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous enough to people in or very near the water is imminent or expected. The first set of waves are expected to arrive at 9:00 PM. Tuesday and continue to build till Wednesday morning.

Lifeguards at the Los Angeles County beaches said that the beach will be cleared at 8:00 PM following the advisory. Though there will not be much damage to the beaches, few areas will be reporting above the normal tides hitting the coast. (September 29, 2009 at 06:15:17 PM PDT)

Tsunami warning for Japan

The Meteorological Agency of Japan has warned of a possible tsunami of up to 1.6 feet (50 centimeters) tall along its eastern coast by 3 PM Japanese Time. The warning was foor the South Pacific coast was later withdrawn.

Warnings / Alerts for other regions

Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand was issued Tsunami warning. The warning to these regions are later withdrawn. Officials of the civil defense of New Zealand has downgraded the tsunami warning to the New Zealand region soon after a wave estimated at 0.4 meters struck along its eastern coast. The New Zealand National Emergency Center was on alert.

Post-Tsunami Updates from the rest of the world

A White House statement said that US President Barack Obama declared 'a major disaster exists' in American Samoa and 'ordered federal aid to supplement territory and local recovery efforts in the area struck by an earthquake, tsunami, and flooding'. September 30, 2009 at 04:24:16 UTC

Hawaiian Airlines said it is expecting to operate its scheduled flight from Honolulu to American Samoa on Thursday evening and will be keeping in touch with the Pago Pago International Airport for updates. The airport was closed to commercial flights after the disaster. The airport's runway is exected to be cleaned to make emergency flights to operate as soon as possible. (September 30, 2009 at 03:14:20 UTC)

The 2004 Indonesia / Sri Lanka / India Tsunami is about 10 times intense than the current Tsunami. But considering that the Samoan region is not as densely populated as the Indonesia, the number of fatalities will be limited.

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