Deadly tsunamis strike U.S. territory

Dozens killed and hurt following major underwater Pacific earthquake.

AMERICAN SAMOA | September 29, 2009

A planned disaster simulation became the real thing Tuesday when at least 14 people were killed in American Samoa and dozens more were killed on other Pacific islands Tuesday after tsunamis generated by a major offshore earthquake swept inland.

The early morning earthquake, measuring 8.0 on the scale, sent coastal residents and tourists running for the mountains and flattened several coastal villages according to local news reports.

At least 50 people were hospitalized and emergency officials said the death toll may climb higher.

The territory’s Department of Homeland Security had planned an emergency drill with the participation of first responders and other emergency personnel Tuesday morning simulating an imaginary emergency in the Harbor Port Area.

American Samoa is a U.S. territory of several islands located in the South Pacific Ocean. The total population of the territory in 2000 was nearly 57,300 according to the 2000 U.S. Census.

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