Following the devastating 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile, a tsunami watch was initiated along the entire West Coast and out to Hawaii, Australia, Samoa and the territories. I emailed openly gay U.S. Ambassador David Huebner to see what was happening there and if and how we could help.
Huebner responded in three separate emails, strung together here.
Am in Samoa on my first official visit. Tsunami sirens went off at 4:00am. Govt evacuating the capital city and coastal villages. Have moved to higher ground along with everyone else. Making calls with Embassy staff to Peace Corps volunteers and other Americans in country to make sure they are aware and moving.
The Chile quake was strong enough that the entire region is at tsunami risk. We'll have a better sense of the likely scenario here shortly, after French Polynesia is hit.
Raw footage of the earthquake from AP:
Reports are that the surges/waves have been between 1 ft and 3 feet on various islands in French Polynesia, with only mild damage and no human casualties -- which is great news. Unless something odd occurs, that means that the Samoas will likely see even smaller waves when they hit in about a half hour (per NOAA projections), since we are on that trajectory line (unlike Hawaii). People have evacuated appropriately, and I am sure that we will be fine.
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