Yesterday a tsunami struck the beautiful people of Samoa. A distraught phone call from our niece living stateside informed us that her mother had run screaming first alerting the village and then frantically running for her life toward the school where her children were on their way. Her oldest son was already off in the distance working the land. The whole village ran toward the mountain for higher ground. This occurred @ 6:30 a.m. We were driving to a birthday dinner with friends when we received the phone call. I could tell by the drop in my husband's face right after he said hello that there was disturbing news.
I tried desperately to help my husband curb his fears by stating it was good news that he at least knew she was alive. I asked about her children. She currently has 7 living with her from ages 24-6. Her husband had recently passed away. He responded with one of them is missing, he's in another village (Lalomanu) with her husbands family. His niece stated that during the phone call all her mom could do was sob in concern for him and then they lost connection.
After many failed attempts to contact her ourselves, we tried to talk ourselves into not panicking. Ok i tried, my husband was too overwhelmed. I kept finding positives. At least we had some contact with her, the kids are alive!! I could tell he was absorbed with knowing they had no warning, imagining the fear and panic, the aftermath, its was all too much.
We had no idea at the time of any details of the quake and its aftermath. I watched my husband for the next few hours break the phone circuits at lighting speed, alerting all our local samoan friends and family, trying to find out more info.
My husband was emotionally exhausted from not knowing, and he eventually went to bed around 1 a.m. I knew he would not really sleep without talking to her.
I walked quietly into our bedroom knowing he was still awake despite his eyes closed, so I sat on the bed dialing her number over and over, praying desperately. I didn't get a circuit busy recording! After about 4 tries of calling and absolutely no ringing, just silence...I found hope in that I wasn't getting a recording. As I dialed one last time - she answered!!! I smacked my husband fully awake and said TALK in fear the connection wouldn't last! As soon as he said her name she began speed talking, I could hear but not make out what she was saying she was talking so fast! After they talked for a few minutes, and lots of one syllable reactions from my husband, and even several different moments of him yelling her name to get her to stop her obsessive speed talking, so he could ask questions, I could tell he was about to lose it. He began to sob uncontrollably. I could hear her say please don't cry, its going to make it even harder for me. Since I could hear her talking and he couldn't over his own sobbing I kept trying to get him to calm down so he could actually talk to her about the others, knowing the phone call could end at any moment. He later told me he was trying to get his older nephew, (in his 20's) to talk to him, and he wouldn't or he couldn't speak because he was in tears. He said he could hear the other kids saying, uncle please come!! He felt completely powerless.
His nephew had just returned from going back to the house to try to gather some things. Apparently they couldn't get close because the water was still covering everything, and the house was completely gone. Elisa (his sister) gave him an account of who was known to be dead, and those still missing. Because of some of his family still not knowing who and what, I won't be sharing any details out of respect. She did say they had word that her son was ok even tho he was in Lalomanu (which we have seen absolutely devastating photos of complete destruction). She said that there were bodies still being discovered as they were covered in the sand and water. She stated that many of them had ran in all sorts of directions toward the mountain, and they were presently sleeping in the bush. She also said, a few had turned around to go back for their personals and lost their lives. I'm guessing this was after the first wave.
Their whole village has been destroyed.