28 Sep 2016

American Samoa remembers tsunami dead

11:00 am on 28 September 2016

The 34 American Samoa victims of the 2009 earthquake and tsunami which hit on September 29 were remembered at a memorial service at the weekend.

American Samoa tsunami memorial

American Samoa tsunami memorial Photo: RNZI/Monica Miller

The service was hosted by the Pago Pago Rotary Club and Hawaiian Air at the picnic shelter and monument that was erected to pay tribute to the victims.

The event was attended by Lieutenant Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga, the Governor's wife, Cynthia Moliga, and relatives of the tsunami victims.

Rotary club president, Margie Tafiti, lost her niece Sabrina Sevaaetasi in the tsunami when she freed her hand after both were swallowed up by the waves at the old Mark and Soli's restaurant in Pago Pago.

American Samoa's Margie Tafiti

American Samoa's Margie Tafiti Photo: RNZI/Monica Miller

She asked people not to take life for granted.

"Always be kind and loving to our loved ones. As that heartbreaking day showed not only were loved ones lost but that thought one should have -never taking for granted that life will go on," said Margie Tafiti.

The tsunami also claimed 143 lives in Samoa and 9 in Tonga's northern islands, the Niuas.

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