American Samoa coastal park, artifacts damagedThe tsunami that rushed ashore last week at the National Park of American Samoa damaged the visitors center, washed away some artifacts inside and forced workers to relocate to a two-bedroom apartment, authorities said Monday.
TAFUNA, American Samoa (AP) — The tsunami that rushed ashore last week at the National Park of American Samoa damaged the visitors center, washed away some artifacts inside and forced workers to relocate to a two-bedroom apartment, authorities said Monday.
In neighboring Samoa, the U.N. children's fund was preparing to begin a mass measles vaccination program for 11,000 children later this week.
``Measles is always a threat to children in disaster situations ... because children die from measles,' Dennis McKinlay, UNICEF's New Zealand executive director, said on Tuesday. Lack of safe water and the potential for disease to spread rapidly were ``the main risk factors' for the Samoan community, he said.
Up to 4,000 children had been displaced from the tsunami zone ``and that's quite a concern,' he added. Children orphaned by the tsunami or who lost family are being targeted by the agency as part of a child protection program UNICEF has run in Samoa for some years, McKinlay noted.
Nearly a week after an 8.3-magnitude earthquake and the resulting tsunami killed 177 people in the Samoas and Tonga, officials in American Samoa were still trying to assess the damage to the 22-square-mile coastal park, the only U.S. park located south of the equator.
``We haven't been able to assess the actual condition of the park,' National Park Service spokeswoman Patti Wold said Monday.
The park's personnel and volunteers were busy helping to remove debris in five villages, as well as from the park. The park has 13 workers and dozens of volunteers.
Waves swept through the park's two-story headquarters building. The visitors center and the artifacts held inside were damaged. ``We had some tapas, or fine mats. Those were damaged. And we were able to get one of the local weavers to repair those, and she brought those back just now,' she said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also helped restore water service to residents in the American territory and also coordinated the installation of more than 20 generators at shelters and sewer and water treatment plants.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency reported cleanup and recovery efforts were making significant progress following the Sept. 29 tsunami. American Samoa suffered 32 deaths, while 136 people were killed in Samoa and nine died in nearby Tonga.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy have supplied survivors with more than 26,000 meals, 14,000 liters of water, 1,800 blankets and more than 800 cots.
Two cruise ships, each carrying some 2,000 passengers and crew, are due to arrive in Pago Pago later this week on previously scheduled cruises, according to territorial officials who said the harbor suffered no major damage.
The Sun Princess will arrive Friday, with the Pacific Princess pulling in the following day. The visitors will be able to go ashore for eight hours.
Betty Cavanaugh, owner of Pago Pago Tradewinds Tour, said there are no changes to the regular ground tours the company provides. ``There will be passengers taking the tours, while others will be walking around the town area, looking at the devastation,' she said.