Wednesday 30 September 2009

Samoan tsunami

At least 90 people have been killed by a tsunami in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga. Thousands have been made homeless.

Large parts of the islands are only just above sea level, and a senior official in American Samoa reported that the waves had devastated all the low-lying areas. Samoa's Deputy Prime Minister said the trademark of a tsunami – the sudden rushing out of the ocean – had come just five minutes after houses were shaken by the underwater earthquake.

Young men had tried to raise the alarm by banging gas canisters, but many of those killed were people who had gone to pick up fish stranded by the antics of the sea.

About four in five of the world’s tsunamis happen in the Pacific, and this is the worst since the one in July 2006 that killed up to 800 people on Java.

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