US President Barack Obama declared American Samoa, a US territory, a major disaster and ordered Federal aid to help recovery efforts
A Pacific-wide tsunami warning was issued after an 8.0 magnitude undersea quake off American Samoa, with reports of a small tsunami reaching New Zealand and rising sea levels in several South Pacific island nations.
Ausegalia Mulipola, assistant chief executive of Western Samoa's disaster management office, said, "It's believed as of now, there could be a number close to 100 deaths."
"They are still continuing the searches for any missing bodies in the area," Mulipola told news agency, adding the southern side of the country's main island Upolu was the worst hit.
"Some areas have been flattened and the tsunami had brought a lot of sand onshore, so there have been reports the sand has covered some of the bodies. So we need specialised machines to search for bodies that are burried under the sand," Mulipola said.