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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.

Samoa earthquake

Samoa earthquake

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.” Read More…

Traffic switches to the left side in Samoa

On 24 July 2008 Tuisugaletaua Avea, the Minister of Transport, announced that the switch would come into effect at 6:00 am on Monday, 7 September 2009.

He also announced that the 7th and 8th would be public holidays, so that residents were able to familiarise themselves with the new rules of the road. Samoa is the first territory in over 30 years to change which side of the road is driven on, the most recent to change being Nigeria, Ghana, Yemen and Okinawa.

A new political party, The People’s Party, had formed to try and block the change but was unsuccessful as was the People Against Switching Sides protest group which launched a last minute legal challenge against the decision. The decision remains controversial with an estimated 18,000 people attending demonstrations against it in Apia in April 2008 and road signs reminding people of the change have been vandalised. Read More…

7.9 magnitude earthquake near Tonga

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a magnitude 7.9 earthquake has struck in the Pacific Ocean approximately 130 miles south-southeast of Nuku’Alofa, Tonga, generating a tsunami. It struck at 6:17 a.m. (local time) and was registered at a depth of only 6.2 miles (10km).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) had earlier issued a tsunami warning for Tonga, Fiji, American Samoa, Samoa, Niue and the Kermadec Islands, which was later canceled. The warning did not include Hawaii. Read More…