5 Jan 2004

Narrow escape for American Samoa family as cyclone

3:09 pm on 5 January 2004

No one was injured when two homes in a shoreline village in American Samoa were destroyed by large waves created by Heta.

The owner of the homes in the village of Poloa heard waves on the sound of the wooden house and moved his family and some posessions to high ground.

When he returned to retrieve more of his belongings, the homes had gone.

High winds overnight have also up rooted banana strees and scattered debris across roads.

The full force of Cyclone Heta is not expected to strike until tonight.

As Fili Sagapolutele reports from Pago Pago the authorities are warning all residents living close to the shoreline to move inland:

"The worst part of the outlying villages, especially the ones on the coastal area, is that the waves can get really high 20 to 40 feet, and that's one of the major concerns coming in from some of the reports so far from the residents. One of the elementary schools on the eastern side of the island is facing danger right now, and reaching the backyard of the elementary school and efforts are now being made to try and protect a portion of the school ."

Fili Sagapolutele reporting from Pago Pago