9 Oct 2009

Service held in Apia to commemorate Samoa tsunami victims

4:33 pm on 9 October 2009

A national memorial service is being held in Samoa to commemorate those who died in last week's tsunami.

A half day public holiday has been declared to mark the occasion, with dignitaries joining the thousands of mourners at the service at Apia Park.

143 people died in the disaster which has left thousands homeless.

Our correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says the event may now be marked every year.

"The prime minister - it has been reported by some other media - is saying this is going to be a memorial day every year for the whole country. The national flag is flying half mast right in front of the main stadium while the funeral is underway."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia reporting.

11 bodies are to be buried at a special site at the Tafaigata cemetery following the service.