Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another Massive Natural Disaster:

Massive Earthquake Triggers Tsunami Near Samoa

Sept. 29, 2009 -- A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of up to 8.3 struck off the South Pacific island nation of Samoa on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami as coastal residents fled to higher ground.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said waves 1.57 meters (five feet) tall hit American Samoa, while 0.7 meter waves were recorded in Samoa.

The center had earlier issued a tsunami warning for a large swathe of the South Pacific including Fiji, New Zealand and Tonga after the U.S. Geological Survey reported a 7.9 magnitude quake.

The center later said an 8.3 magnitude quake had been recorded at a depth of 33 kilometers (21 miles). It was not immediately clear if this was the same quake and the USGS's website did not provide exact details of its location.

"Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated," said a statement from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

"It may have been destructive along coasts neat the earthquake epicenter and could alo be a threat to more distant coasts. Authorities should take appropriate action in response to this possibility."

Samoa resident Keni Lesa told AFP in the capital Apia that people were moving inland.

"I'm taking my family to a safe place. Everyone's getting out of coastal areas," he said.

But Lesa said there was no panic as "we have done a lot of training for this," living on a low lying island in an earthquake prone area.

There were no immediate reports of damage from the earthquake, apart from a few landslips.

In its preliminary earthquake report, the USGS put the epicenter 204 kilometers (126.8 miles) south-southwest of Samoa's capital Apia and at a depth of 85 kilometers (52.8 miles).

The tsunami warning was also in effect for American Samoa, Samoa, Niue Island, the Wallis and Futuna Islands, the Tokelau atolls, the Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Kermadec Islands, the Baker and Howland Islands, Jarvis Island, French Polynesia and the Palmyra Islands.

A tsunami watch was issued for Vanuatu, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Kosrae Island, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, Pohnpei in Micronesia, the Wake Islands, Pitcairn and the Midway Islands.

The USGS said the region was struck by a 5.6 magnitude quake around 20 minutes after the first.

Tsunami Wipes Out Villages in South Pacific
Disaster Highlights Challenge of Establishing Effective Warning Systems

Wallstreet Journal
SEPTEMBER 30, 2009, 9:52 A.M. ET

Victims of the tsunami that swept across the South Pacific had only minutes to escape the deadly waves and in some cases didn't receive alerts of danger, despite years of work to upgrade early-warning systems across the region.

At least 99 people were killed and dozens left missing by the tsunami, which inundated tourist resorts and local villages after a massive 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Samoa early Tuesday morning local time. Disaster authorities warned the death toll could rise significantly over the next few days as the full scale of the disaster – much of which occurred in remote areas – is assessed.

A boat from Malaloa Marina is seen on the edge of the main highway in the village of Fagatogo in American Samoa.

Reporting from Wellington, New Zealand, Dow Jones Newswires' Simon Louisson tells The News Hub at least one village in Samoa was wiped out by a tsunami wave. The wave followed a massive earthquake that struck close to the Pacific Island group.

Fears of further waves generally abated late in the day as relief workers set about treating victims and recovering bodies that were washing up along the shores. Although small waves were measured as far away as Japan, that country withdrew its tsunami warnings by afternoon and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii, which monitors possible tsunami threats in the region and issued its own temporary warnings earlier, didn't raise fresh alerts.

The warnings appeared to help prevent injury in some areas. Residents in the Samoan capital of Apia said emergency officials fanned out across the city to warn of the Tsunami Warning Center's first alerts, while staff at Aggie Grey's, a historic hotel along the waterfront, said they quickly moved guests to upper levels to escape danger.

"There were sirens and emergency workers all over the place, pestering people to walk up the hill," said Cherelle Jackson, a resident. But much of the worst danger "was on the other side of the island," she said, and informing residents in those areas, which are less densely populated, was much harder. In some places, she and others said, the messages didn't get through.MORE...


The Tsunami wave was measured at up to 20 feet high. The latest death toll has risen to over 100. After-shocks continue to be a problem. This event comes very closely on the heals of the catastrophic flooding in the Philippines.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

"There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven." (Luke 21: 11)

"And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world." (Luke 21: 25-26)

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