Scores killed as tsunami strikes Samoa islands
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A tsunami triggered by a massive 8.3-magnitude earthquake has washed over the Samoa islands and Tonga in the South Pacific, killing more than one hundred people.
AFP - At least 113 people are dead after a huge Pacific earthquake and tsunami hit the Samoan islands and Tonga on Tuesday, a hospital worker and officials said.
"There has to be more than a hundred, the last count was at 2:00 pm (0100 GMT Wednesday) and there were 84 bodies," a worker at Samoa's Tupua Tamasese Hospital told AFP.
Officials said 22 had died in American Samoa and another seven in Tonga.
Dozens more people were missing and feared dead, but officials in South Pacific islands said communications were down to many outlying villages.
In American Samoa, about 100 kilometres (63 miles) from Samoa, Homeland Security director Michael Sala said the tsunami which followed about 20 minutes after the earthquake, did most of the damage.
"We have 22 confirmed dead and it could go much higher," said Sala, who added the wall of water, which he estimated at 25-feet (7.5 metres) high, swept ashore demolishing buildings.
The eastern part of American Samoa was without power and water supplies after the devastating earthquake, which struck at 6:48 am (1748 GMT).
In Tonga, government officials said there were seven dead and three missing on the small island of Niuatoputapu.
The officials flew over the island from the capital Nuku'alofa but were unable to land because of damage to the airstrip.
They said they would make their way there by sea overnight to assess the full extent of the damage.