Samoa's Tsunami Hurt Thousands

     People on the islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga have been left stunned by the devastating seismic event which has killed at least 140 people and displaced thousands.

   Hundreds of people are still missing.

   Four Australians and a young Australian resident are confirmed among the dead. International aid has arrived and more is on its way, but tsunami survivors are spending their second night in the open.

  The victims of the disaster will never forget the horror of these few days. Everyone of them has their own  sad story.  They lost their homes, their property, their pets and some of them will never see again their daughters, mothers or best friends.

   The Australian owners of the Seabreeze Resort, Chris and Wendy Booth know they are lucky to be alive after they clung to the side of their house to keep from being swept away.

    But a good friend of theirs did not survive.

     Right across the south coast, villages have been wiped out, cars catapulted into the water and houses flattened.

     Fifty-five-year-old Victorian Vivien Hodgins-May also died. The popular teacher had worked at Mt Clear College in Ballarat for 33 years.

   Also dead, two Australian children and a New Zealand toddler with Australian residency. Six other Australians have been injured and they will soon be on their way back to Australia. None of those are seriously hurt.

  Australia has been quick to respond to the disaster. Teams of paramedics, doctors, nurses and search and rescue specialists have just arrived in the region with essential supplies like tents and medicine.

  "The most important thing to do right now is to keep the survivors of the tragedy alive, to help them... handle the disease and to provide them with water and shelter," said Air Commander John Oddie from the Defence Department.

  The hospital in the capital Apia is at breaking point.

    As foreign aid begins to arrive in Samoa, the grim reality is boats are scouring the coastline bringing in bodies, most appear to be children.

ABC Online   contributed to the report.

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