Death toll from Samoa tsunami could be in the “hundreds”

Dozens of people are reported to have died in Somoa and American Somoa following a earthquake triggered tsunami Wednesday morning local time, with reports suggesting the death toll could reach “hundreds.”

As we reported earlier, the 8.0 earthquake struck at 6:43am local time 195 km (125 miles) south of the Samoan capital Apia. Tsunami warnings were sounded across both countries, however reports suggest that some villages were unaware of the alert, despite their coastal locations.

The death toll so far is unconfirmed, with significant help still on its way to the Islands. An earlier report claimed 14 people had been killed in American Samoa, while officials in Somoa have so far only confirmed that there had been deaths, but declined to offer a number. An unnamed journalist on the scene quoted by The Age claims that the toll in Somoa could be “in the hundreds,” and that dozens of villages had been completely wiped out.

The tsunami made its way across the pacific, striking the north coast of New Zealand at around 9:30am local time. There are no reports of damage in New Zealand, with one report claiming a sea level rise of below 1 meter.

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A Tsunami watch alert remains in place for Hawaii.