In case you or loved ones living in the Pacific Islands or coastal NZ: a large quake has hit American Samoa and a tsunami warning has been issued for the Pacific. On ABC radio, they're now talking about a wave of 2-3 metres.
NZ on alert as major quake shakes Samoa
September 30, 2009 - 7:54AM
At least five people are reported to have been killed after a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Samoa on Tuesday, the New Zealand deputy high commissioner to Apia David Dolphin said.
The quake sparked a tsunami warning for a large swathe of the South Pacific although Australia is not expected to be affected.
The quake of up to 8.3 magnitude hit at 6.48am Tuesday local time (0348 Wednesday AEST) midway between the two island groups of Samoa and American Samoa.
There were reports of deaths in American Samoa, although a US official was unable to confirm numbers.
Samoan police also say the tsunami has caused an unknown number of deaths there, the ABC reported.
There were reports that three children had been killed in Samoa, the ABC said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre put the quake's magnitude at 8.3 and issued a general alert for the South Pacific region, from American Samoa to New Zealand.
It said the tsunami generated by the quake "may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicentre and could also be a threat to more distant coasts".
The US Geological Service said the quake struck 35km below the ocean floor, 190km from American Samoa and 200km from Samoa.
New Zealander Graeme Ansell said the beach village of Sau Sau Beach Fale in Samoa was levelled.
"It was very quick. The whole village has been wiped out," Ansell told National Radio from a hill near Samoa's capital, Apia.
"There's not a building standing. We've all clambered up hills, and one of our party has a broken leg. There will be people in a great lot of need 'round here."
The powerful quake jolted people awake.
In Apia, families reported shaking that lasted for up to three minutes.
"It was pretty strong; it was long and lasted at least two minutes," one resident told local radio.
"It's the strongest I have felt, and we ran outside. You could see all the trees and houses were shaking," he said.
Sulili Dusi told New Zealand's National Radio that "everything dropped on the floor and we thought the house was going to go down as well. Thank God, it didn't." Along with neighbours, they fled to high ground.
Another resident, Dean Phillips, said the southern coast of Upolu island had been struck by the tsunami.
"The police are sending everybody up to high ground," he said.
Local media said they had reports of some landslides in the Solosolo region of the main Samoan island of Upolu and damage to plantations in the countryside outside Apia.
A 1.5-metre tsunami wave swept into the American Samoa capital Pago Pago shortly after the earthquake, sending sea water surging inland about 100 metres before receding, leaving some cars stuck in mud.
Electricity outages were reported and telephone lines were jammed.
In Fagatogo, water reached the waterfront town's meeting field and covered portions of the main highway, which also was plagued by rock slides.
A local reporter said three children had been killed in Samoa.
"There doesn't seem to be any damage around the capital although we have been told there have been deaths on the other side of the island as a result of the following tsunami," Australian journalist Russell Hunter, who lives in Apia and works for the Samoa Observer, told the ABC.
"So far we are told three children in a small village on the other side of the island."
New Zealand was expected to be hit by a one-metre high wave about 10am local time (0700 AEST), New Zealand Civil Defence said.
Eastern coast areas were most at risk.
A brief statement issued by the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre, operated by the Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia, said Australia would not be impacted by the tsunami.
"There is no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories," the statement said.
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