I had just hopped into bed last night when the landline started ringing. I ran out to the lounge to pick up the phone and my heart started pounding as late calls usually mean bad news. It was my mother inlaw calling to inform us that a tsunami had just hit Samoa and if my family was okay. The sick feeling I felt in the pit of my stomach was all I felt at that very moment. My mind raced as I tried to think if my family were in the danger areas. Poutasi, Falealili was mentioned and I felt even more sick as my sister J was in Poutasi to do her research there and now I was praying that she had left the area. I hung up the phone and started the marathon calls to Samoa to all my family's numbers. As I've just changed phones I didn't have all the numbers saved but these I have committed to memory. Amazing in the moment of stress and panic, I couldn't remember some of the numbers that I dial over and over. Panic rose as I could not get through to anyone. I was just not connecting. I then rang Nets(Samoan sister) in Dubai to see if she knew and she was the one that updated me that everyone in Apia were evacuated to higher grounds however Lalomanu, Falealili and Satupaitea received the wrath of the wave and suffered losses to property and loved ones! Netia was skyping with Utu in Geneva and we were conference calling as we tried to make sense of what was going on at home. My internet was down so I couldn't even be updated online or get to my family that way. Nets who was on facebook saw my my journalist sister(CJ) had just updated her status on the disaster then sent her a message from me if they were okay. Within 20 minutes my sister who was online sending off news returned the message that they were all okay and not to worry about our family. So I said my prayers of thanks my family was spared but prayed for others that were injured and lost loved ones themselves:( I tried to call again but to no avail.
I woke up this morning to more disastrous news that there were more deaths than anticipated. The beautiful beaches of Lalomanu and Falealili were washed away. A lot of the beach fales in Lalomanu were washed away so it is feared that many tourists may have perished in the tsunami as well. The female owner of Sinalei Resort is said to have died in the tsunami and her husband is in the hospital injured. They were friends of Mom's and very popular people in the community. So so sad and am praying for all the victims families and those who are suffering in Samoa.
I urge people to send what you can to help. They need tents, water, clothing and I say send money to the Samoan Red Cross if you can as they will be at the front helping people in the villages.