SAMOA, Sumatra and Indonesia Tsunami and Earthquake SurvivorsEARTHQUAKES in Indonesia and Sumatra
TSUNAMI in Samoa and American Samoa
Our hearts, sympathy and prayers go out to the survivors of the earthquakes hitting Indonesia and Sumatra, as well as the tsunami that hit Samoa and American Samoa on Tuesday. In Samoa and American Samoa, at least 140 people died after a magnitude 8.0 quake struck at dawn Tuesday, sending four waves, each 15 to 20 feet high. The earthquake that struck western Indonesia on Wednesday killed at least 529 people, more than half of them in the coastal Sumatran city of Padang, according to news reports. Thousands more were believed dead, said Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari, including many trapped in an estimated 500 buildings that toppled or were damaged in the magnitude 7.6 quake.
The downtown area of Fagatogo, a town of 3,000 on the shore of Pago Pago Harbor in American Samoa, is submerged by seawater after a massive tsunami flattened villages and swept cars and people out to sea. Triggered by a powerful underwater earthquake, four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet high roared ashore on American Samoa, reaching up to a mile inland. Read more at ABC
SURVIVOR STORIES from SAMOA
Our hearts go out to the Samoa, Sumatra and Indonesia survivors…
SURVIVOR JOHN NEWTON
"The earthquake itself was terrifying," said John Newton, 66, of American Samoa. "Then the tsunami came just minutes after. The force it came with was just overwhelming. It destroyed everything in its path." Newton said a friend in a remote part of the island had died in the disaster. "I don't think anyone here will be untouched by this," he said. Wooden structures were toppled and the contents of buildings were swept away. Cars were overturned and roads strewn with debris. The tsunami knocked out one of two power plants in American Samoa, and communications throughout the islands were spotty. More at the LATIMES
SURVIVOR DENNIS FAMUI
Dennis Famui said he walked outside his hillside home immediately after the earth shook and looked out at the bay at the center of American Samoa's main island. "A couple minutes after the earthquake, you could see the water draw back and expose the reef and part of the docks," said Famui, 45. "Then the water came back and tossed cars and container boxes and pushed them right back into the bay." He said the tsunami wasn't a wave that could be spotted from a distance, but a mass of water that rose with steady, destructive force as it neared.
More at the LATIMES
SAMOA SURVIVOR PICTURES
First photos from American Samoa Earthquake Tsunami
SURVIVOR JOHN BLACKER:
TASMANIAN tsunami survivor John Blacker, now recovering in a Samoan hospital, has told of his ordeal. An Australian survivor of the Samoa tsunami clung to a palm tree while waves battered him and his wife before she was ripped from his arms and drowned. John Blacker — who cannot swim — said the waves tossed him around and pounded him with debris for "what seemed like forever", the Hobart Mercury reports. More NEWS HERE.
SURVIVOR JOEY CUMMINGS
Joey Cummings Watched Water Rise to His 2nd Story Window Just Minutes after Quake Rocked South Pacific.
SURVIVOR TOGIOLA TULAFONO
American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono said the effects of the tsunami would touch everyone. "I don't think anybody is going to be spared in this disaster," he said.
Eni Faleomavaega, who represents American Samoa in the US Congress, said the waves had "literally wiped out all the low-lying areas in the Samoan islands". He said the tsunami had struck too quickly for a full evacuation. Samoa's Deputy Prime Minister Misa Telefoni told AAP that the ocean had receded, heralding the oncoming tsunami, "within five minutes" of the quake. "With the location and the intensity... I don't know if anything better could have been done."
We invite MORE SAMOA SURVIVORS to share their personal stories.