Sep 30

Samoa Tsunami Kills 141 Before Quake Prompts Indian Ocean Watch (Bloomberg)

The downtown of Fagatoga was flooded when a tsunami hit American Samoa early on Tuesday. (AP)

SYDNEY, Australia — A powerful tsunami generated by an undersea earthquake killed more than two dozen people and wiped out several villages in the tropical islands of American Samoa and Samoa early on Tuesday there, according to officials and local residents who were working to assess the damage.

The earthquake struck around dawn, as many residents were preparing for work and getting their children ready for school. Officials said they expected heavy damage in the southern parts of Samoa and American Samoa, a United States territory with about 60,000 residents.

Damaged telephone lines on both islands hampered efforts to count the casualties and assess the destruction from the earthquake, with a magnitude of 8.0. It struck below the ocean about 120 miles southwest of American Samoa and 125 miles south of Samoa, and it was centered only 11 miles below the seabed, according to the United States Geological Survey.

At least 14 people were killed in American Samoa, the territory’s governor, Togiola T. A. Tulafono, said at a news conference in Hawaii. The toll could rise as emergency workers gain access to damaged areas, he and other officials said.

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