Tsunami rescue begins in Pacific

https://i1.wp.com/newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/v4/header_blocks.gifA major relief operation has begun in the Samoan islands, which were hit by a tsunami that killed at least 113 people and wiped out villages and resorts.

If you’d like to assist with relief efforts visit Help Samoa for more details

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Rescue officials said planes carrying medics, food, water and other supplies were heading to the stricken Pacific islands of Samoa and American Samoa.

They said tens of thousands of people need help in villages swamped by waves triggered by a huge earthquake.

The United Nations said it was sending an emergency team to Samoa.

According to the latest reports, at least 83 people were killed in Samoa, more than 25 in American Samoa and at least six in Tonga.

Samoan officials say it could take a week before the full extent of the damage is known.

Major disaster

https://i1.wp.com/newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46473000/jpg/_46473547_008043419-1.jpgAmateur video footage showed villages destroyed, homes flattened, and cars lodged in treetops.

Residents and tourists fled to higher ground as boats were swept inland and cars and people sucked out to sea.

US President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in American Samoa and pledged a “swift and aggressive” government response.

The European Union released an initial amount of 150,000 euros (£137,000; $220,000) in aid for the victims, and Australia and New Zealand also pledged assistance.

The Red Cross has set up camps for those who have lost their homes, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The Samoa islands comprise two separate entities – the nation of Samoa and American Samoa, a US territory. The total population is about 250,000.

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