Tsunamis In Polynesia Flatten Villages; Kill Over 100

Samoan Tsunami aftermath

Samoan Tsunami aftermath. Photo courtesy CNN.com

In a flashback to the devastating tsunami that hit Southeast Asia in 2004, an earthquake off the coast of American Samoa has flattened villages and killed over 100 people in American Samoa, Tonga, and Samoa. A call to Wavehunters Surf Travel which operates a surf camp in Samoa yielded this email:

"hey everyone,

Just got positive confirmation that all is okay at Sa’Moana from Dad. Shaun from World Surfaris got on via Skype and it sort of goes like this, very sketchy but at some stage we’ll get the full details

apparently they were all woken up by massive shaking and ground movement, then some time later while having coffee the water out front started to drain out so Robbo and the staff got everyone into the vans and hightailed it to safety. On returning things were pretty okay with apparently no building damage. Lucky the falai’s are built on stilts and the water passed under the falais.

so all sounds good, not one hurt but would imagine the gardens might need a tidy up. Our 29′ mono hull Surf 1 seems like it might be a write off, currently upside down on the rock wall near our mooring. It seems like that village has lost 5 or so people.

however not so good news for camps, resorts and villages east of Samoana … places like the Coconut Beach Resort sound like they have been flattened and Sinalea Resort also copping some major damage. For those of you who have been there this section of the coast it actually quite a big bay from east of Samoana round to Boulders and Sinalea and Coconuts are position in the middle of this bay and would have absolutely copped it head on. Also tragic news that Tui Annandale, Joe’s wife, from Sinalea Reef Resort was washed away.

the estimates of those dead are set to climb far further than the 100 odd estimates the news is reporting and with the 30 or so estimated dead at this stage this is already the worst ever natural disaster for Samoa.

any further news i will be sure to pass on and our thoughts go out to the people of Samoa."

As reported on CNN:

Survivors of a deadly earthquake-triggered tsunami which hit the Samoan islands Tuesday have described how they watched the inrushing sea swallow up coastal towns and villages leaving devastation in its wake.

iReporter Alden Tagarino captured this image of the damage caused by the tsunami in Pago Pago.

At least 111 people are confirmed killed in Samoa, neighboring American Samoa and Tonga. But officials in the Polynesia region have expressed fears the toll will rise as rescue workers struggle to reach outlying villages submerged and flattened by the wave.

American Samoa resident Frances Faumatu told CNN she had fled to Aoloau, the highest village on the island, as the earthquake shook her house.

“All of a sudden we heard on the radio everybody had to run for safety,” she said. “Right after the quake, the tsunami came.”

Faumatu and others stayed on the mountain for two or three hours until the warning was lifted, watching as the sea swallowed Pago Pago, island’s capital, and then receded.