30 Sep 2013

Dwelling on deadly tsunami too painful, says American Samoan chief

8:45 pm on 30 September 2013

The high talking chief of a village in American Samoa which lost 11 people in the September 2009 tsunami says it's still too hard to remember that day, and healing from it is an ongoing process.

About 100 floating lanterns will be released at sunset on Sunday in American Samoa to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2009 tsunami that killed 34 people in the territory.

Church services territory-wide included remembrance of those whose lives were taken that day.

The High Talking chief of Leone village, Fiu John Saelua, says

no one wants to think about the horrible things that happened that day.

"We want to remember those when they were alive, when they were walking and talking and sharing and laughing with us, we don't wanna remember because I myself and the whole village went out and looked for those bodies of those mothers and children and brothers, it was a horrible scene. We don't wanna remember those."

Fiu John Saelua says they are still trying to heal spiritually and mentally, but most of those who lived by the sea say they will never move back there.