September 30th, 2009
08:55 AM ET

Dozens dead as tsunami slams into Samoan islands

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/09/30/samoa.earthquake/art.home.jpg caption="A few villages have been badly damaged, said Dr. Salamo Laumoli, director of health services."]


A huge emergency effort is under way in the Samoan islands after towering tsunami waves triggered by an 8.0 earthquake left dozens dead and entire villages flattened or submerged.

At least 77 people are so far confirmed dead in American Samoa and neighboring Samoa but officials fear the toll will rise as rescue workers work to reach outlying villages. Seven people were also confirmed killed in Tonga.

The quake hit the small cluster of Samoan islands in the South Pacific early Tuesday.

In Samoa, the death toll currently stands at 55, according to government minister Maulolo Tavita, but he said he feared the number of casualities would continue to rise.

In American Samoa 22 people were confirmed dead by late Tuesday. But Salamo Laumoli, director of health services at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center in the capital, Pago Pago, said he feared more fatalities would turn up as rescue workers were still trying to access parts of the island severed by damaged infrastructure.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Weather
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Eugenia - San Francisco

    We also need to take into account:
    When was the last time we had earthquakes of this size back to back?

    September 30, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  2. Art

    It's my hope that everything will work out o.k. Mother nature can be very cruel to us.

    September 30, 2009 at 7:29 am |