Not enough Pacific tsunami disaster relief

This is a video about the tsunami in Samoa and American Samoa.

By Tom Peters:

Pacific tsunami relief efforts grossly inadequate

7 October 2009

The death toll from the September 29 earthquake and tsunami, which struck the small Pacific island states of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga, is continuing to rise, as the extent of the destruction becomes more apparent. So far 170 people have been confirmed dead—129 in Samoa, 32 in American Samoa and nine on the Tongan island of Niuatoputapu. An unknown number of people are still missing in Samoa and two are missing in American Samoa. Hundreds have been injured, with Samoan hospitals reportedly overflowing.

In absolute terms the numbers are small compared to the death toll in the earthquake that hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra less than a day later. However, per capita, the level of destruction wrought by the Pacific tsunami is enormous. In Samoa, according to a government estimate, 32,000 of the country’s 180,000 inhabitants have been affected, through the loss of relatives, injury, or by the loss of their homes, vehicles or food crops. Some 20 villages have been virtually flattened along the south coast of Upolu, the main island of Samoa, and scores more have been destroyed on Tutuila, in American Samoa. Thousands have been left homeless in both islands. Coastal homes on the small island of Manono, near Upolu, were also destroyed. On Niuatoputapu, an isolated island with little infrastructure and a population of less than a thousand, around 194 homes and the island’s health clinic were destroyed.

Although the tsunami hit the islands minutes after the initial 8.3 magnitude earthquake, some residents have criticised the authorities in Apia and Pago Pago for failing to provide any effective public warning. Initial reports suggest that the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning to governments across the Pacific as soon as the quake struck, leaving a window of between 8 and 28 minutes for local warnings to be issued. Reverend Uaea Isaraelu, from the Samoan village of Saleapaga, told Radio New Zealand International that 30 lives could have been saved had his village received a warning, as there was a 10-minute gap between the tremor and the first tidal wave. Yet the only public warning issued was in the form of a radio broadcast.

2 thoughts on “Not enough Pacific tsunami disaster relief

  1. UN calls for aid for flood victims

    Philippines: The United Nations appealed on Tuesday for £47 million to help flood victims in the Philippines.

    UN humanitarian chief John Holmes said that the money would provide for food, water, sanitation facilities, emergency shelter and health care.

    Mr Holmes said that Tropical Storm Ketsana and Typhoon Parma had affected four million Filipinos, killed almost 300 people and left about 40 missing.


  2. Pingback: Good rare bird news from Samoa | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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