Earthquake causes a tsunami in the Samoa Islands
An 8.3 magnitude earthquake in the Samoa Islands region causes a tsunami and kills at least 50 people.
The temblor generated three separate tsunami waves that are spreading, the largest of which measures 5.1 feet from sea level height and recorded an 3-inch rise in sea levels near the epicenter according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.
The quake occurred near the Kermadec-Tonga Subduction Zone in the Pacific Ring of Fire, where continental plates in the earth’s crust meet and earthquakes and volcanic activity are common.
Samoa evacuated the entire city of Apia, the country’s capital city, moving thousands of residents to higher ground. Journalist Cherelle Jackson reported that the city quickly emptied in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, “All the schools, workplaces everyone has walked up – it’s like a ghost town.”
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi and his deputy Prime Minister Misa Telefoni were in Auckland, New Zealand, at the time of the earthquake.
Samoan officals confirmed the runway at Apia was safe by early afternoon. New Zealand dispatched a RNZAF P-3 Orion to assess the damage, and a C-130 Hercules transport was prepared to carry relief supplies. Air New Zealand arranged for larger Boeing 777 aircraft to carry in relief workers and evacuate tourists to Auckland.