As most of you probably know there was an earthquake at about 6:50 AM local time last Tuesday. I had woken up at 6 that morning to open our gate, then went back to sleep. Fifty minutes later an 8.0 earthquake woke me up again. I quickly jumped out of bed, and stood in the doorway between my bedroom and the living room. I’m not exactly sure how long it lasted, but it seemed like a very long time. There was this rumbling noise that sounded like the noise of a subway about to enter into the station. Couple of toiletries fell off of the shelves, but nothing broke. I did not realize the severity of the earthquake, and decided to go back to sleep. At exactly 7 AM, I received a call from our Peace Corps office, and was told to go inland. So I quickly put clothes on, and got on my bike to go to our evacuation point. After riding for about 25 minutes I arrived, and met up with other PCVs. A fire truck came by with its sirens on, and a guy was shouting into his megaphone to go further inland. We got back on our bikes, and rode for another half an hour inland where we waited out the tsunami warning. On our way up, I received a couple of calls from the States asking about the status of Samoa. This is when I realized the severity of the situation in the South Pacific, as it was making headlines all over the world. I later returned back home that day around noon when we got the okay from the Peace Corps.
My village got hit by the tsunami but villagers said it was just a three-foot wave. Some outhouses were destroyed, and rocks lining the sea were knocked over and spread over the streets, but no one was injured. I stayed home that day, but many Samoans spent the night inland in their plantations, thinking that another tsunami would hit.
The next day only about thirty kids showed up for school. I decided to go into Apia that day to help out on the other island, ‘Upolu where the tsunami was much bigger. Reports say that it was a ten-foot wave that it. I spent Friday morning cleaning up the village where the one and only Volunteer was truly affected. She lost her entire house. Later that day and Saturday was spent helping out the Red Cross Samoa in the Aleipata/Lalomano/Falealili region.
Here are some pictures of the devastation (in southern ‘Upolu).
There used to be beach fales all along the beach here.
Houses destroyed by the tsunami.
Houses destroyed. You can see the yellow and blue columns that used to hold up a house.
Mormom church still standing. Lots of debris outside of it.
Outside the Mormom church a tent was set up. People there and all along the area were sleeping under these tents.
Supplies being sorted out and delivered by the Red Cross.