Tsunamis kill 99, displace thousands in South Pacific

posted at 10:55 am on September 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

A massive undersea earthquake triggered a series of tsunamis that claimed at least 99 lives in Samoa and Tonga, displaced thousands more, and wiped out entire villages and parts of cities.  Unlike the 2004 tsunami that killed 230,000 in the Indian Ocean region, timely warnings appear to have saved countless lives.  The effort to keep them alive has only just begun, however:

The quake, with a magnitude between 8.0 and 8.3, struck around dawn about 125 miles from Samoa, an island nation of 180,000 people located about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. It struck about 120 miles from neighboring American Samoa, a U.S. territory that is home to 65,000 people.

Four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet high roared ashore on American Samoa, reaching up to a mile inland, Mike Reynolds, superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa, was quoted as saying by a parks service spokeswoman.

Hampered by power and communications outages, officials struggled to determine damage and casualties.

Samoan police commissioner Lilo Maiava told The Associated Press that police there had confirmed 63 deaths but that officials were still searching the devastated areas, so the number of deaths might rise soon.

Hundreds of injured people were being treated by health workers, and people were still struggling into centers seeking treatment, Maiava said.

At least 30 people were killed on American Samoa, Gov. Togiola Tulafono said, adding that the toll was expected to rise as emergency crews were recovering bodies overnight.

FEMA has already been dispatched, and Barack Obama has declared a disaster and an emergency in American Samoa.  We can expect the US to respond robustly, as we did in 2004, with military assets used to deliver food and medical supplies in order to keep people alive.  Later, we will also have to work on rebuilding the devastated areas, but the next few days will be critical to halting the loss of life.

The charitable and generous spirit of Americans will also be needed.  In 2004-5, I recommended World Vision as a reliable charity for getting tsunami relief to the victims; the Red Cross will also be on the front lines.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Barack Obama doesn’t care a bout Samoans.

RightWinged on September 30, 2009 at 10:58 AM

DAMN YOU BOOOOOOOOOOSH!!

angryed on September 30, 2009 at 10:59 AM

When I see these I wait for the awful climb in the headlines, where the toll doubles every hour or two. It’s a relief when they finally level off.

exception on September 30, 2009 at 11:00 AM

Good thing Obama is lowering sea levels.
/snark

daesleeper on September 30, 2009 at 11:02 AM

Wow, Obama was quick to react.

Now, if he could get his mind wrapped around Afghanistan, I’d feel better. Americans are dying there, ya know.

bridgetown on September 30, 2009 at 11:03 AM

I’m glad that the warnings saved lives. Unfortunately, I heard on the radio a woman recount how she heard another woman losing her children in the tsunami waves as she was only able to grab a tree branch.

How sad.

therightscoop on September 30, 2009 at 11:04 AM

Another example of “live today as if it were your last”…

Prayers out to those affected.

JetBoy on September 30, 2009 at 11:05 AM

Won’t cap and trade taxes also take care of earthquakes and tsunamis? Or will that just control the weather?

Vashta.Nerada on September 30, 2009 at 11:06 AM

What a tragedy. The poor families who lost loved ones. Thank goodness early warnings worked….

mjk on September 30, 2009 at 11:08 AM

So Halliburton now has a Tsunami Machine?

Wow this will go great with the Hurricane Machine they used to devestate New Orleans!

Dick Cheney must be polishing his fangs with glee!

pseudonominus on September 30, 2009 at 11:08 AM

Don’t be surprised if a story comes out about actor Dwayne Johnson, formerly known as “The Rock”, contributing heavily to relief for Samoa.

He’s the grandson of a late Samoan High Chief and, several years ago, gave a large amount for relief in Samoa after Cyclone Heta.

teke184 on September 30, 2009 at 11:09 AM

Those of you who oppose Waxman-Markey are responsible for the deaths of these people.

year_of_the_dingo on September 30, 2009 at 11:11 AM

Praying for those poor people and their families.

This has been a destructive week. The storms that hit the Phillipines and now this.

BakerAllie on September 30, 2009 at 11:11 AM

I’d love to visit there and help the local economy. My dream is to tour the South Pacific. American Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, New Zealand.

SouthernGent on September 30, 2009 at 11:12 AM

God’s will.

Trent1289 on September 30, 2009 at 11:12 AM

OT:

Dumbo Ears is on TV again.

What is that now, 200 days in a row and counting?

Someone shoot my ears off and pluck my eyes out.

fogw on September 30, 2009 at 11:13 AM

Talofa to my Samoan friends suffering the Earthquakes & tsunami. I have been to American Samoa, and made many friends there. They are a very strong people and VERY family oriented. Everyone is considered a “cousin”, so I am sure these 30 deaths affect 1000′s.

God be with you all.

portlandon on September 30, 2009 at 11:13 AM

Those of you making political snarky comments should be ashamed of yourselves.

Take your politicizing to a different thread losers.

uknowmorethanme on September 30, 2009 at 11:13 AM

I’d love to visit there and help the local economy. My dream is to tour the South Pacific. American Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, New Zealand.

SouthernGent on September 30, 2009 at 11:12 AM

You should go. The region is beautiful, the people are great, and the only truly expensive part of a trip is the flights. I went a couple of years ago using airmiles.

Vashta.Nerada on September 30, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Someone shoot my ears off and pluck my eyes out.

fogw on September 30, 2009 at 11:13 AM

LOL, I feel your pain.

bridgetown on September 30, 2009 at 11:15 AM

It could have been worse. Read that they did get a tsunami warning. Guess some took the advice to heart.

Tom

marinetbryant on September 30, 2009 at 11:15 AM

uknowmorethanme on September 30, 2009 at 11:13 AM

I’m sorry, Mr. Hall Monitor. I will try harder next time.

bridgetown on September 30, 2009 at 11:15 AM

Foreign planes loaded with supplies and military ships packed with rescue helicopters and medical personnel should be arriving from around the world any day now.

*tick tock tick tock*

Bishop on September 30, 2009 at 11:15 AM

the only truly expensive part of a trip is the flights.

Vashta.Nerada on September 30, 2009 at 11:14 AM

I just noticed Tahiti on your list. ***Except Tahiti***

Vashta.Nerada on September 30, 2009 at 11:17 AM

I will pray for these people and their islands. What a tragedy.

ted c on September 30, 2009 at 11:18 AM

I’m sorry, Mr. Hall Monitor. I will try harder next time.

bridgetown on September 30, 2009 at 11:15 AM

And you wonder why the left things you are crazy, EVERYTHING is about Obama to some of you. It doesn’t help our cause to be foolish…douchebag.

uknowmorethanme on September 30, 2009 at 11:18 AM

things = thinks

uknowmorethanme on September 30, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Let me be clear…I oppose tsunamis.

angryed on September 30, 2009 at 11:20 AM

uknowmorethanme on September 30, 2009 at 11:18 AM

This is about deaths, right? There are men and women dying in Afghanistan. I simply ask that My President work on that problem as well as he works on this tsunami one. What is wrong with that?
Oh, and I’m supposed to care that the left may think me crazy?
douchebag…that’s nice. You’re a Joy!

bridgetown on September 30, 2009 at 11:21 AM

Those of you making political snarky comments should be ashamed of yourselves.

Take your politicizing to a different thread losers.

uknowmorethanme on September 30, 2009 at 11:13 AM

Is that what you said when Bush was accused of blowing up the levies, creating the hurricanes, causing global warming which caused the hurricanes, creating the CA fires in some indirect way?

Piss off.

angryed on September 30, 2009 at 11:21 AM

Gee it is too bad we are such an evil country. Because up until Obama pointed out to us just how evil, and terrible we are we probably would have sent good people, food, water, money etc. to this country.
I guess now that “the One” has taken over for us He will take care of that.

patriotparty1 on September 30, 2009 at 11:23 AM

Better move fast or the Saudis will be there first with the aid.

BL@KBIRD on September 30, 2009 at 11:26 AM

And you wonder why the left things you are crazy, EVERYTHING is about Obama to some of you. It doesn’t help our cause to be foolish…douchebag.
uknowmorethanme on September 30, 2009 at 11:18 AM

Lighten up, Francis, maybe a dull blog such as ‘TaxProf’ would be more your speed.

Bishop on September 30, 2009 at 11:28 AM

American Saoma is far away (trust me it is far) and this struck without any significant warning. We need to find out how bad it is and get them the aid they need. Unfortunately, that will take some time (at least days). I hope the death toll does not grow higher, but I fear it will.

Mr. Joe on September 30, 2009 at 11:30 AM

I am waiting to see if there will be a difference between how Presidents Bush and BO handles devastating disaster’s – such as Tsunami’s?.

hawkman on September 30, 2009 at 11:31 AM

You should go. The region is beautiful, the people are great, and the only truly expensive part of a trip is the flights. I went a couple of years ago using airmiles.

Vashta.Nerada on September 30, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Oh, I will get there one day.

Best wishes to all in American Samoa.

SouthernGent on September 30, 2009 at 11:31 AM

Sadly, the numbers will likely increase significantly. And I agree with ‘the Hall Monitor’; political snarkiness is VERY inappropriate in regards to this.

michaelo on September 30, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Doesn’t Nancy Pelosi’s hubby have some fairly lucrative business interests in American Samoa? I hope he is taking care of his employees, the ones Nan made sure he didn’t have to pay the same federal minimum wage as here in the US.

Political snark aside, my heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones with this tsunami.

marybel on September 30, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Many of those killed were Americans (obviously). And yet, while watching Fox this morning, the Tsunami was mentioned for literally a minute, and even then, not until fifteen minutes into the newscast.

Nice.

YYZ on September 30, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Carbon dioxide causes earthquakes. Look it up.

/snark

kiltedscotsman5 on September 30, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Many of those killed were Americans (obviously). And yet, while watching Fox this morning, the Tsunami was mentioned for literally a minute, and even then, not until fifteen minutes into the newscast.

Nice.

YYZ on September 30, 2009 at 11:46 AM

And yet the Fox News racists broke into their regular programming to show Obama’s entire speech this morning, where he continued to promote his health care debacle.

Did you catch that or were you tuned in to SpongeBob Squarepants?

fogw on September 30, 2009 at 11:58 AM

I am waiting to see if there will be a difference between how Presidents Bush and BO handles devastating disaster’s – such as Tsunami’s?.

hawkman on September 30, 2009 at 11:31 AM

I have been watching the differences of the victims’responses recently. I live in the Atlanta metro area in which some suburbs were devastated by flooding last week. If you haven’t seen any pictures, look here.

Anyway, I haven’t seen anyone screaming or gnashing teeth about where the gubmint is. Several victims had moved here from N.O. after Katrina.

This morning I heard a victim who lost their entire home say “This is not anyone’s fault.” Refreshing. Or is it just because Boooosh is not in office?

Brat on September 30, 2009 at 12:04 PM

NZ Herald has some amazing photos

ConservativePartyNow on September 30, 2009 at 12:04 PM

We can expect the US to respond robustly, as we did in 2004, with military assets used to deliver food and medical supplies in order to keep people alive. Later, we can expect the rest of the world to spit in our eye for the privelege.

CurtZHP on September 30, 2009 at 12:08 PM

Barack Obama was seen heading for the airport… to get his ass to Denmark.

joe_doufu on September 30, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Thoughts and prayers go out to my fellow islanders on Samoa. I am just grateful for our reef system here. We are, for the most part, protected from tsunamis. Now if only we had some natural typhoon protection!

geckomon on September 30, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Too bad Pelosi wasn’t there visiting her pineapple plantation that her husband has so much money in and been washed out to sea never to be seen again.

jistincase on September 30, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Ed Morrissey: We can expect the US to respond robustly, as we did in 2004, with military assets used to deliver food and medical supplies in order to keep people alive. Later, we will also have to work on rebuilding the devastated areas, but the next few days will be critical to halting the loss of life.

The charitable and generous spirit of Americans will also be needed. In 2004-5, I recommended World Vision as a reliable charity for getting tsunami relief to the victims; the Red Cross will also be on the front lines.

Thanks for posting this, Ed.

My thoughts and prayers are for those killed, suffering, and their loved one.

It is amazing how generously America responded back then as a country and as individuals, and I expect we shall do the same this year even given our more difficult circumstances.

It’s also amazing what science, technology and some good organization can do to save lives. That is a great blessing.

Loxodonta on September 30, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Unfortunately, that’s what happens when you live along one of the nastiness faults in the world.

http://www.tectonics.caltech.edu/sumatra/public.html

Here’s a place for those of you who want to learn more of the geology of this area of the world.
These people will always have to lvie with violent E-quakes, Tsunamis, & volcanoes.
BTW-isn’t Indonesia in general a hotbed of Islamic terrorist activity? Hmmm?
I wonder what will become of the alread shaky govts in these areas after this disaster.
I also cannot believe there weren’t many, if any, GPS & seismic stations out there before the last nast E-quake.
They’ve been predicting a major quake like this since before & after the last one.

So global warming isn’t responsible for these islanders’ changes in sea level: is the emergence & subsidence of the subduction zone area.
Sucks to be them. My prayers are with these people.

Badger40 on September 30, 2009 at 2:03 PM

I’m so glad to see the warnings helped. Thank God.

AnninCA on September 30, 2009 at 2:04 PM

This morning I heard a victim who lost their entire home say “This is not anyone’s fault.” Refreshing. Or is it just because Boooosh is not in office?

Brat on September 30, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Well if they were blaming someone, they are ignorant morons.
It’s Plate Tectonics’ fault-no one else’s.
And honestly, we don’t owe these people anything, & yet we try our best to help others.
REAL help. Meaning we expect nothing in return.
How many countries can really say that?

Badger40 on September 30, 2009 at 2:06 PM

And where is the president, the left beat bush up for not being at Katrina….hell we cannot even get a flyover from the Parasite in Chief….

sargentj on September 30, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Best of luck to these people, I’ll keep them in my thoughts. Don’t know if I have any $ to contribute at the moment, but will try.

rbj on September 30, 2009 at 2:19 PM

And the Messiah is f’in around in Copenhagen.

Great.

More good stuff for the opposition in 2010/12.

Love it.

Good job on the warnings, whoever was responsible.

Sapwolf on September 30, 2009 at 2:28 PM

I’m so glad to see the warnings helped. Thank God.

AnninCA on September 30, 2009 at 2:04 PM

You believe in God?

Cause it is hip? Or, are you actually Christian or Jewish?

Sapwolf on September 30, 2009 at 2:29 PM

And yet the Fox News racists broke into their regular programming to show Obama’s entire speech this morning, where he continued to promote his health care debacle.

Did you catch that or were you tuned in to SpongeBob Squarepants?

fogw on September 30, 2009 at 11:58 AM

It’s called bad news judgement, not bias.

YYZ on September 30, 2009 at 2:29 PM

I will be thinking and praying for the survivors, I’m so glad they had a warning system.

4shoes on September 30, 2009 at 2:34 PM

American Red Cross, sorry I can’t donate like I normally do to help the people who are now suffering in the South Pacific. All of my money is being taxed by the Obama Administration and I can’t afford to donate to help needy people anymore. /s

yoda on September 30, 2009 at 4:58 PM

Since Obambi has declared us no better than any other country or culture, can we now expect Venezuela, Iran or the rest of the Star Wars cantina to offer a hand?

RadClown on September 30, 2009 at 6:25 PM

The logical side of me says it’s nonsense, but the emotional side of me is starting to wonder if there is something to this 2012 talk.

MarkTheGreat on October 1, 2009 at 9:00 AM