Deadly tsunami hits Samoas - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Deadly tsunami hits Samoas

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APIA, Samoa (AP) -- Samoa and American Samoa are reeling after a strong pacific earthquake generated tsunami waves that killed at least 99 people.

Villages were flooded and flattened and authorities say dozens of people are missing.

Cars and people were swept out to sea by the fast-churning water as survivors fled to higher ground, where they remained huddled hours after the quake struck.

The quake, with a magnitude between 8.0 and 8.3, struck around dawn Tuesday about 125 miles from Samoa, a South Pacific island nation of about 180,000 people located about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii.

Neighboring American Samoa is a U.S. territory of about 65,000 people.

Authorities say at least 63 people on Samoa and another 19 on American Samoa were killed and the toll is likely to go higher.

The White House has declared a major disaster in American Samoa. The declaration Tuesday night by President Barack Obama provides federal aid to supplement local recovery efforts.

Online Reporter: Ashley Gatz

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