Tsunami Strikes Samoan Islands

by Emily Holbrook on September 30, 2009 · 9 comments

Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in American Samoa after a tsunami, triggered by a 8.3 magnitude earthquake, struck the area. News reports claim more than 100 people have been killed, including 77 people in Samoa, more than 25 in American Samoa and at least six in Tonga. The death toll is likely to rise as several more are missing. American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono has said the first wave struck too quickly for a full evacuation. Others were killed by the second deadly wave.

Officials at the Samoa Meteorology Division said many of those who died were killed by a second wave after they went to gather fish that had been washed up after the first. Sirens reportedly blared out across the Samoan capital, Apia, again late on Tuesday but the warning was thought to be a false alarm.

The area has seen its share of tsunami destruction, especially since the earthquake and tsunami of 2004, which killed more than 225,000 around the Indian Ocean. Following this tragic event, the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System was launched. However, Jonathan Bathgate, a seismologist from Geoscience Australia thinks that Samoa’s system is probably outdated.

From Time:

“Yes, the region was better prepared as a whole. But Samoa falls under the jurisdiction of the Pacific Ocean Tsunami Warning System,” says Jonathan Bathgate, a seismologist from government agency Geoscience Australia. “They are a 50-year-old organization, and their system hasn’t changed much in recent years.”

Some Samoans are criticizing the effectiveness of the warning system, claiming it failed them and their loved ones.

To view locations of natural disasters worldwide, check out  this world map that is updated in real time.

This image simulates a tsunami washing over a coastal village.

This image simulates a tsunami washing over a coastal village.

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Emily Holbrook is the executive managing editor for National Underwriter Life & Health and the former editor of the Risk Management Monitor and Risk Management magazine. You can read more of her writings at EmilyHolbrook.com.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben Tili December 11, 2010 at 3:10 pm

The comment that the second wave killed most of the victims because they went to gather fish is not quite accurate.

My aunt, and her two great grand children perished because there was not enough time to evacuate from their house on the shoreline in Lalomanu. 49 perished in Lalomanu and one more person died a year later from internal injuries sustained when she was pulled out to sea. A total of 50 have passed, not because they went fishing, there was no warning system in place and many were elderly and children.

Aunt Vinesa Toa was 80 years old and her grand children were both under two years old. May she Rest In Peace and her death a reminder that it is very, very important to be prepared for potential disasters such as the earthquake and the tsunami on September 29, 2009. The wary concern I still have, is the thought that the next big one could hit, my kids will be in school and I’m on the other side of the island; and the school is not prepared for the forthcoming events.

Their memory

Prostate Cancer Symptoms December 14, 2010 at 4:36 am

I just added your blog site to my blogroll, I pray you would give some thought to doing the same.

Bytesland S.E. February 22, 2011 at 3:48 am

Wow, that’s really much helpful. Thanks a lot.

Fiapa'ipa'i (Sialo'i) Villareal April 24, 2011 at 11:01 am

I hope the government fix the system,instead of their pockets and their own dam families .
To you all my Samoan People..God has punished Samoa ..Samoa Mo Le Atua…Looks like Samoa’s Faiths is fading…lol..

Fiapa'ipa'i (Sialo'i) Villareal April 24, 2011 at 11:05 am

For God So Love The World …
Happy Easter Too You All ….LOL….

Fiapa'ipa'i (Sialo'i) Villareal April 24, 2011 at 11:24 am

I am from Masefau …Father.Sialoi Fesiligona Maiava’aitu Sialoi
…Mother.Mele(Lepopoi)Samia..Sialoi(Fagatogo,Ili’ili,Poloa,Leone,)ect…..

I Am 100%..Sialo’i Fesiligona Sialo’i..I am Fiapa’ipa’iTufanuaImeaAtamali’i Sialo’i

Fiapa'ipa'i (Sialo'i)Villareal April 24, 2011 at 11:37 am

Masefau belongs to Sialo’i Fesiligona Maiava’aitu Sialo’i

To you all wanna be Masefau people live there and mind your own business …you don’t have no right to open your mouth..You know who You Are …I’m watching You …..You’ll get your number soon..

jel August 8, 2012 at 9:46 am

Fiapa’ipa’i (Sialo’i)Villareal—-> You’re not helping. Just pray for your people instead of threatening them. It’s nonsense.

Kevin Tu April 2, 2013 at 10:39 pm

To Ben Tilli at the beginning of this email trail, if you’re the same Ben Tilli that went to college at the University of California San Diego, please contact me. We lost touch many years ago and I would love to reconnect with you. Kevin.tu2@gmail.com

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