Government emergency plans activated when tsunami watch came into effect


Samoa has encountered earthquakes since July of this year. 

The latest was earlier today with a magnitude of 6.4 and a tsunami advisory was issued but canceled two hours later. 

The quake was felt after 8 am according to the Meteorology office saying it took place 184 kilometres southwest of Apia with a depth of 10km.

Information complied by Radio Polynesia from relevant authorities indicated that in July an earthquake struck with a  magnitude of 5.7; on 14 August 5.8; on 22 September 5.2; on 24 October 5.7; on 11 November 7.3 and today was 6.8 magnitude. 

Today’s earthquake led to the activating of the government emergency plans and the closing of schools. Stores were closed in the town area when the advisory came into effect. 

Also, the Public Service Commissioner issued a notice informing Chief Executive Officers to make the call on whether to close business for the day due to tsunami watch from Meteorology and DAC. Activate all emergency response plans.

The courthouse was closed today when Radio Polynesia arrived at the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration building. 

MNRE CEO Frances Brown Reupena and Chairman of the National Emergency Operation Center Agafili Shem Leo reaffirmed the cancellation of the tsunami advisory during a live from the NEOC office. 

Reupena pointed out that today’s earthquake is nothing compared to the 2009 earthquake that triggered a tsunami. 

Thirteen years ago two large earthquakes struck midway between Samoa and American Samoa and generated tsunami waves of up to 22 meters (72 feet) that engulfed the shores, Samoa suffered the worst with 149 deaths. 

The devastation extended beyond human casualties with houses destroyed, cars swept out to sea and some villages being virtually annihilated. 

With over $200 million dollars in damages, the islands were ravaged both physically and economically.