Natural Disaster

Tsunami Hits Samoa

Tsunami waves topping 13 feet crashed into American Samoa after an 8.0-magnitude subsea earthquake shook the Pacific islands Tuesday. Though fatalities are hard to estimate at this point—due in part a large number of small, sea-level villages with weak communication—USA Today reports at least 34 dead and multiple villages leveled in Samoa and American Samoa (the latter of which is a U.S. territory). A local radio host said that "right now, everybody is up in the high mountain ranges." Thousands of people live at sea level in the area, but fortunately there was no Pacific ocean-wide tsunami like the one that claimed 230,000 lives in 11 countries in 2004.