17 Dec 2012

Flash flood in Samoa described as inland tsunami

7:02 am on 17 December 2012

In Samoa, people are describing a flash flood that tore through the east of the capital, Apia, as an inland tsunami.

The true extent of the damage caused by cyclone Evan is only now being revealed with villages on the south coast still waiting for help to arrive.

A New Zealand airforce Orion will today resume the search for eight fishermen who were out at sea when the cyclone struck.

Four people have been confirmed dead.

The New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa, Nick Hurley, says people are being cared for in evacuation centres around the capital where a flash flood destroyed hundreds of homes.

Mr Hurley says the river went from ten metres across to 400 metres across in a matter of seconds and took everything in its path with it.

Nick Hurley says the death toll could rise.

The Red Cross says people are feeling bewildered after the unrelenting onslaught of Cyclone Evan.

The Red Cross senior advisor, Glenn Rose, has flown to Samoa and says people have been hit by what he calls a triple whammy of rain, wind and flash floods.

The American Samoa Government has started accepting relief supplies to help neighboring Samoa recovery from the devastation of tropical cyclone Evan.

American Samoa's governor, Togiola Tulafono issued a general memorandum establishing an office within the Governor's Office to assist Samoa with its recovery from the cyclone.

He says the Office of Disaster Relief will receive donations from the public, offered to provide direct aid to the victims of the cyclone.

Togiola says the most urgent needs of those affected by this disaster are clothing, non-perishable food and water.