.Official: Indonesia quake traps thousands

A damaged boat inside a building in Pago Pago, on American Samoa.

A scientist at Germany’s Geoscientific Research Institute, GFZ based in Potsdam, south of Berlin, shows a graph on a computer monitor registered during the earthquake off the Samoa islands region.

A destroyed structure amidst debris near a church in the village of Leone, American Samoa.

A nearby resident walks past one of the two caskets with human remains unearthed by the tsunami at the Satala cemetary, which is located just yards away from the ocean in Fagatogo, American Samoa.

.Blackout in Padang after quake strikes

In the dark: A vendor serving a customer by candlelight at Pasar Baru market, Central Jakarta on Wednesday. State-owned electricity company PT PLN has scheduled power outages in some parts of the city because of yesterday's fire at the firm’s substation. In the dark: A vendor serving a customer by candlelight at Pasar Baru market, Central Jakarta on Wednesday. State-owned electricity company PT PLN has scheduled power outages in some parts of the city because of yesterday’s fire at the firm’s substation.
Wave-hit: A main road in the downtown area of Fagatogo, American Samoa is flooded by water on Tuesday. A powerful Pacific Ocean earthquake spawned towering tsunami waves that swept ashore on Samoa and American Samoa early Tuesday, flattening villages, killing at least dozens of people and leaving dozens of workers missing at devastated National Park Service facilities. AP/Fili SagapoluteleWave-hit: A main road in the downtown area of Fagatogo, American Samoa is flooded by water on Tuesday. A powerful Pacific Ocean earthquake spawned towering tsunami waves that swept ashore on Samoa and American Samoa, flattening villages, and killing dozens of people.

Tsunami in South Pacific islands kills nearly 100

Tsunami in South Pacific islands kills nearly 100

A massive tsunami hurled by a powerful earthquake flattened Samoan villages and swept cars and people out to sea, killing at least 99 and leaving dozens missing Wednesday. The toll was expected to rise.

The same day, western Indonesia was rocked by a strong underwater temblor, briefly triggering a tsunami alert for countries along the Indian Ocean and sending panicked residents out of their houses.

The alert was later canceled. Survivors of the South Pacific islands tsunami fled the fast-churning water for higher ground and remained huddled there hours after the quake, with a magnitude between 8.0 and 8.3, struck around dawn Tuesday.

The quake was centered about 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Samoa, an island nation of 180,000 people located about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. It was about 120 miles (190 kilometers) from neighboring American Samoa, a U.S. territory that is home to 65,000 people.

Four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet (4 to 6 meters) high roared ashore on American Samoa, reaching up to a mile (1.5 kilometers) 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 cramming 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.

“I don’t think anybody is going to be spared in this disaster,” said Tulafono, who was in Hawaii for a conference. In Washington, President Obama has declared a major disaster for American Samoa.

Obama said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is in contact with emergency responders, and the U.S. Coast Guard is helping deliver resources to areas in need of assistance.

The disaster declaration allows the United States to provide the support necessary for a “full, swift and aggressive response,” the president said. In a statement issued early Wednesday, Obama said he and his wife, Michelle, “will keep those who have lost so much in our thoughts and prayers.

” Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi looked shaken Wednesday on board a flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to the Samoan capital of Apia. “So much has gone. So many people are gone,” he told reporters on board.

“I’m so shocked, so saddened by all the loss.” Malielegaoi said his own village of Lepa was destroyed.

“Thankfully, the alarm sounded on the radio and gave people time to climb to higher ground,” he said.

“But not everyone escaped.” Gov. Tulafono told reporters in Hawaii that a member of his extended family was among the dead in American Samoa.

Because the closeness of the community, “each and every family is going to be affected by someone who’s lost their life,” he said as he boarded a Coast Guard C-130 plane in Hawaii to return home.

The plane, which also carried FEMA officials and aid, was scheduled to arrive at about 7 a.m. local time. (2 p.m. EDT; 1800 GMT) Authorities in Tonga confirmed at least six additional people dead in the island nation west of the Samoas, New Zealand’s acting Prime Minister Bill English said.

He said Tongan officials told him that four people were missing after the tsunami swept ashore on the northern island of Niua.

“There are a considerable number of people who’ve been swept out to sea and are unaccounted for,” English said.

“We don’t have information about the full impact and we do have some real concern that over the next 12 hours the picture could look worse rather than better.” Britain’s Press Association news agency, citing unidentified sources, said that a 2-year-old British child was killed in Samoa.

It was unclear whether that reported death was included in the overall toll. The Foreign Office said Wednesday that one British national was missing and presumed dead in the disaster.

A New Zealand P3 Orion maritime surveillance airplane had reached the region Wednesday afternoon and had searched for survivors off the coast, he said. It was expected to resume searching at first light.

The Samoa Red Cross said it had opened five temporary shelters and estimated that about 15,000 people were affected by the tsunami. New Zealander Graeme Ansell said the Samoan beach village of Sau Sau Beach Fale was leveled.

“It was very quick. The whole village has been wiped out,” Ansell told New Zealand’s 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.”

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told Seven Network in Australia that two Australians had died in the tsunami, including a 6-year-old girl.

Mase Akapo, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in American Samoa, reported at least 19 people killed in four different villages on the main island of Tutuila. Officials reported at least 50 injured.

Residents in both Samoa and American Samoa reported being shaken awake by the quake early Tuesday, which lasted two to three minutes and was centered about 20 miles (32 kilometers) below the ocean floor.

It was followed by at least three large aftershocks of at least 5.6 magnitude. The quake came Tuesday morning for the Samoas, which lie just east of the international dateline. For Asia-Pacific countries on the other side of the line, it was already Wednesday.

The Samoan capital, Apia, was virtually deserted by afternoon, with schools and businesses closed. Hours after the waves struck, fresh sirens rang out with another tsunami alert and panicked residents headed for higher ground again, although there was no indication of a new quake.

In American Samoa’s capital of Pago Pago, the streets and fields were filled with ocean debris, mud, overturned cars and several boats as a massive cleanup effort continued into the night.

Several buildings in the city – just a few feet above sea level – were flattened by either the quake or the tsunami.

Several areas were expected to be without electricity for up to a month. The dominant industry in American Samoa – tuna canneries – was also affected. Chicken of the Sea’s tuna packing plant in American Samoa was forced to close although the facility wasn’t damaged, the San Diego-based company said.

The effects of the tsunami could be felt thousands of miles away. Japan’s Meteorological Agency said “very weak” tsunami waves were registered off the island of Hachijojima about 10 hours after the quake.

There were no reports of injuries or damage in Japan, which is about 4,700 miles (7,600 kilometers) northwest of Samoa. U.S. officials said strong currents and dangerous waves were forecast from California to Washington state. No major flooding was expected, however.

In Los Angeles, lifeguards said they would clear beaches at about 8 p.m. in response to an advisory for possible dangerous currents.

While the earthquake and tsunami were big, they were not on the same scale of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, said Brian Atwater of the U.S. Geological Survey in Seattle.

That tsunami killed more than 230,000 in a dozen countries across Asia.

Magnitude 7.6 Indonesia Quake Traps People Under Rubble

Sept. 30: Office workers gather outside their building after feeling an earthquake tremor in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

A powerful underwater earthquake rocked western Indonesia Wednesday, toppling buildings, bringing down bridges, starting fires and sending panicked residents out of their homes, witnesses told Reuters.

The 7.6-magnitude quake triggered a tsunami alert for countries along the Indian Ocean, including Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Thailand, but was later canceled by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

While the U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.9, it was later revised down to 7.6. It hit 30 miles off the coast of Padang, The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami alert for Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Thailand, along the same fault line the spawned the massive 2004 Asian tsunami.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, but several injuries were reported.

Indonesian television reported that hundreds of buildings had collapsed and many people were feared trapped under the rubble. Footage from Padang showed flattened buildings, with at least one person trapped underneath, a foot sticking out from beneath the debris.

“The earthquake was very strong,” said Kasmiati, who lives on the coast near to the epicenter. “People ran to high ground. Houses and buildings were badly damaged.”

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“I was outside, so I am safe, but my children at home were injured,” she said before her cell phone went dead.

The quake triggered a landslide that cut off land transport to the provincial town of Padang Pandang, which lies about 45 miles north of Padang, said a police officer in the town, who identified himself only as Riko. He said three cars were reportedly hit by the landslide.

Padang, a sprawling low-lying city of around 900,000, was badly hit by an 8.4 magnitude quake in September 2007, when dozens of people died and several large buildings collapsed.

Power in the city was reportedly cut and telecommunications networks were down or overloaded, making it difficult to get accurate information about the extent of the damage.

“Many buildings are badly damaged, including hotels and mosques,” said Wandono, an official at Meteorology and Geophysic Agency in the capital, Jakarta, citing reports from residents.

He said a steep, sloping riverbank collapsed, houses had toppled and a fire had broken out in buildings on the road to Padang.

Wednesday’s quake comes a day after a quake with a magnitude of between 8.0 and 8.3 in the South Pacific hurled a massive tsunami at the shores of Samoa and American Samoa, flattening villages and leaving at least 99 dead and dozens missing.

The epicenter of Wednesday’s temblor off Indonesia lies several thousand miles to the west, on the other side of Australia.

The shaking could be felt in high buildings in Jakarta, several hundred miles away. It was also felt in neighboring Singapore and Malaysia.

Witnesses said residents of Padang, and other towns and cities, ran out of homes and buildings in fear, and a road to the coastal town was cut off.

“People are panicking. They are running out of the buildings… There are many collapsed buildings,” an unidentified witness in Padang told MetroTV.

“Hundreds of houses have been damaged along the road. There are some fires, bridges are cut and there is extreme panic here maybe because water pipes are broken and there is flooding in the streets,” another witness told Reuters.

Geologists have long said Padang, with a population of 900,000, may one day be destroyed by a huge earthquake because of its location.

“Padang sits right in front of the area with the greatest potential for an 8.9 magnitude earthquake,” Reuters quoted Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, a geologist at the Indonesian Science Institute, in February.

Deadly tsunami hits Pacific islands photo Gallery,pictures,stills,images

Death Toll Hits 240 in Philippine Flooding – News In Pictures

Tropical storm Ketsana has left a trail of flooding and devastation in the Philippines – the worst to hit the country in four decades.

The authorities want international help and they are also concerned that another storm could hit later in the week.

It is now known that 240 people have been killed and thousands more are in evacuation camps.


A series of tsunamis smashed into the Pacific island nations of American and Western Samoa killing possibly more than 100 people, destroying villages and injuring hundreds, officials said on Wednesday.

Tsunami in South Pacific islands kills nearly 100

Play Video AP – Scores dead following Samoan tsunami

Debris is strewn around a church in Leone, American Samoa Tuesday Sept. 29, 2009 AP – Debris is strewn around a church in Leone, American Samoa Tuesday Sept. 29, 2009 after a powerful Pacific …

By KENI LESA and FILI SAGAPOLUTELE, Associated Press Writers Keni Lesa And Fili Sagapolutele, Associated Press Writers 26 mins ago

APIA, Samoa – A massive tsunami hurled by a powerful earthquake flattened Samoan villages and swept cars and people out to sea, killing at least 99 and leaving dozens missing Wednesday. The toll was expected to rise.

Survivors fled the fast-churning water for higher ground on the South Pacific islands and remained huddled there hours after the quake, with a magnitude between 8.0 and 8.3, struck around dawn Tuesday.

The quake was centered about 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Samoa, an island nation of 180,000 people located about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. It was about 120 miles (190 kilometers) from neighboring American Samoa, a U.S. territory that is home to 65,000 people.

Four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet (4 to 6 meters) high roared ashore on American Samoa, reaching up to a mile (1.5 kilometers) inland, Mike Reynolds, superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa, was quoted as saying by a parks service spokeswoman.

The same day, western Indonesia was rocked by a strong underwater quake, briefly triggering a tsunami alert for countries along the Indian Ocean and sending panicked residents out of their houses. The alert was later canceled.

The Samoan capital, Apia, was virtually deserted by afternoon, with schools and businesses closed. Hours after the waves struck, fresh sirens rang out with another tsunami alert and panicked residents headed for higher ground again, although there was no indication of a new quake.

In American Samoa’s capital of Pago Pago, the streets and fields were filled with ocean debris, mud, overturned cars and several boats as a massive cleanup effort continued into the night. Several buildings in the city — just a few feet above sea level — were flattened. Several areas were expected to be without electricity for up to a month.

In Washington, President Obama has declared a major disaster for American Samoa.

In a statement issued early Wednesday, Obama said he and his wife, Michelle, “will keep those who have lost so much in our thoughts and prayers.”

Hampered by power and communications outages, officials in the South Pacific islands 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.

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.

“I don’t think anybody is going to be spared in this disaster,” said Tulafono, who was in Hawaii for a conference. He added that a member of his extended family was among the dead in the disaster.

Authorities in Tonga confirmed at least six additional people dead in the island nation west of the Samoas, New Zealand‘s acting Prime Minister Bill English said. He said Tongan officials told him that four people were missing after the tsunami swept ashore on the northern island of Niua.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told Seven Network in Australia that two Australians had died, including a 6-year-old girl. The British Foreign Office said one Briton was missing and presumed dead.

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi looked shaken Wednesday on board a flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to the Samoan capital of Apia.

“So much has gone. So many people are gone,” he told reporters on board. “I’m so shocked, so saddened by all the loss.”

Malielegaoi said his own village of Lepa was destroyed.

“Thankfully, the alarm sounded on the radio and gave people time to climb to higher ground,” he said. “But not everyone escaped.”

Gov. Tulafono said that because the closeness of the community, “each and every family is going to be affected by someone who’s lost their life.” He spoke to reporters before boarding a Coast Guard C-130 plane in Hawaii to return home. The plane, which also carried officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and aid, was scheduled to arrive at about 7 a.m. local time (2 p.m. EDT; 1800 GMT). The U.S. disaster agency said it was also preparing supplies stored in Hawaii for transport to the island chain.

A New Zealand P3 Orion maritime surveillance airplane had reached the region Wednesday afternoon and had searched for survivors off the coast, he said. It was expected to resume searching at first light.

The Samoa Red Cross estimated that about 15,000 people were affected by the tsunami.

New Zealander Graeme Ansell said the Samoan beach village of Sau Sau Beach Fale was leveled.

“It was very quick. The whole village has been wiped out,” Ansell told New Zealand’s 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.”

Residents in both Samoa and American Samoa reported being shaken awake by the quake early Tuesday, which lasted two to three minutes and was centered about 20 miles (30 kilometers) below the ocean floor. It was followed by at least three large aftershocks of at least 5.6 magnitude.

The quake came Tuesday morning for the Samoas, which lie just east of the international dateline. For Asia-Pacific countries on the other side of the line, it was already Wednesday.

The dominant industry in American Samoa — tuna canneries — was also affected. Chicken of the Sea’s tuna packing plant in American Samoa was forced to close although the facility wasn’t damaged, the San Diego-based company said.

The effects of the tsunami could be felt nearly 5,000 miles away (7,500 kilometers) on a Japanese island, though there were no reports of damage or injuries there.

U.S. officials said strong currents and dangerous waves were forecast from California to Washington state. No major flooding was expected, however. In Los Angeles, lifeguards said they would clear beaches at about 8 p.m.

While the earthquake and tsunami were big, they were not on the same scale of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, said Brian Atwater of the U.S. Geological Survey in Seattle. That tsunami killed more than 230,000 in a dozen countries across Asia.

Powerful earthquake rocks western Indonesia

Powerful quake destroys buildings in Indonesia AFP Graphics – Map locating the Indonesian island of Sumatra. A powerful 7.9-magnitude quake struck off Indonesia’s …

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Witnesses and media say a powerful earthquake hit western Indonesia, toppling buildings, cutting electricity and causing at least several injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.9, and struck 30 miles (50 kilometers) off the coast of Sumatra. The quake was along the same fault line that spawned the massive 2004 India Ocean tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people.

A tsunami warning for countries along the Indian Ocean was issued after the temblor struck early evening Wednesday and then lifted about an hour-and-a-half later.

Witnesses told local television and radio that hundreds of houses collapsed and that a road to the coastal town of Padang was cut off.

Witnesses reported at least several injuries.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A powerful underwater earthquake rocked western Indonesia Wednesday, triggering a tsunami alert for countries along the Indian Ocean and sending panicked residents out of their houses.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.9. An Indonesian television network reported that buildings had collapsed in the coastal city of Padang, in Southern Sumatra province.

Indonesia’s meteorological agency said the quake had a preliminary magnitude at 7.6 and hit 30 miles (50 kilometers) off the coast of Padang, along the same fault line the spawned the massive 2004 Asian tsunami that killed more than 230,000 in a dozen countries.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami alert for Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Thailand.

“There is a possibility of a destructive regional tsunami in the Indian Ocean,” it said in an e-mailed statement.

There were no immediate reports of a high waves.

It comes a day after a quake with a magnitude of between 8.0 and 8.3 in the South Pacific hurled a massive tsunami at the shores of Samoa and American Samoa, flattening villages and leaving at least 99 dead and dozens missing.

The epicenter of Wednesday’s temblor off Indonesia lies several thousand miles (kilometers) to the west, on the other side of Australia.

Witnesses said residents of Padang, and other town and cities, ran out of homes and buildings in fear when the quake hit in the early evening.

“People are panicking. They are running out of the buildings… There are many collapsed buildings,” an unidentified witness in Padang told MetroTV.

The shaking could be felt in high buildings in the capital, Jakarta, several hundred miles (kilometers) away. It was also felt in neighboring Singapore and Malaysia.