Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tsunami News


Here are clippings about the recent tsunami/earthquake from various Peace Corps Volunteers and Staff currently in Samoa:

  • "Some absolutely wonderful news is that Filia’s (Peace Corps Staff) two nephews and nieces who were reported as either dead or missing are OK. They were found earlier today in the forest up the mountain where a wave deposited them after being torn out of the grasp of adults. They are OK after a night on their own. Her sister-in-law also was reported as having died, but she is OK, too."
  • "We’ve heard from the Samoa Red Cross that they need volunteers for various tasks, as well as donations of food and clothing. If you want to volunteer your time, go directly to the Red Cross office. If you do volunteer and they send you to the field rather than doing office work, be careful and prepared with shoes (rather than flip flops), water, sunscreen, a little food, a hat, etc. You also can take up any donations of food or clothing, or bring it to the Peace Corps office and we will deliver the donated materials in batches."
  • "Teuila (Peace Corps Medical Officer)has been donating her medical skills, and we also have sent to the Red Cross some food we have been storing at the office for an emergency."
  • "We’re also trying to work the leaders of the villages of Poutasi and Saleapaga (where Peace Corps has contacts), where they have lost family members, to see if they could use our help on Friday or Saturday for relief and clean-up efforts. We thought it best to try to focus our efforts on villages with which our staff members have a strong connection. If so, we’ll send out staff members and PCVs in some of our vehicles. As these plans firm up, I’ll let you know."
  • NZ Red Cross is taking donations for Samoa:

  • "It's very hard to get news. The phones don't work. But I have heard via email that my village of Poutasi was one of the hardest hit. Initial reports are that it was devastated, flattened. One Peace Corps volunteer in country says that there are possibly 50 dead in Poutasi (in a village of 325 people). I heard by email from the Peace Corps country director that one of my family members was killed. Her body was found washed up in a tree after she tried to help some children get to safety. I don't know yet if the others are safe."
  • "The quake, with a magnitude between 8.0 and 8.3, struck at 6.48 am Samoan time on Tuesday and locals said it lasted up to three minutes. According to news reports, eyewitnesses said that over the next 20 minutes there were four giant walls of water, between three and nine meters high."
  • "About 8 minutes ago, we just had a big earthquake. Big. No information yet on the exact magnitude, but it was quite long and certainly big enough to knock over stuff around my house. I'm guessing it was at least a 6.0 on account of the stuff flying about. About 40 seconds in, I grabbed my laptop because I was afraid the cinder block shelf was going to fall on top of it. The quake went on and on and on to the point it felt like it was continuously shaking into the aftershock phase. And we've had a couple aftershocks already."

Check these Peace Corps Volunteers blogs for excellent eyewitness accounts and experiences:


  • Returning New Zealand holidaymakers told of "truckloads" of bodies in the worst hit area on the southern side of Upolo, in Samoa.
  • "We've seen pick-up trucks carrying the dead... back to town," Fotu Becerra told radio Newstalk ZB, the AFP news agency reported.
  • Joey Cummings, a radio broadcaster in Pago Pago told the BBC that he watched from a balcony as a five-metre (15ft) wave struck and "the air was filled with screams".

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