Samoans searched flattened homes and debris-filled swamps, while survivors told of being trapped underwater or flung inland by a tsunami that killed at least 150 people in the South Pacific.
The day after the disaster struck, officials were expecting the death toll to rise as more areas were searched.
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele’s own village of Lesa was washed away — like many others on Samoa and nearby American Samoa and Tonga. He inspected the southeast coast of the main Samoan island of Upolu, the most heavily hit area. Mr. Tuilaepa said the death toll in Samoa was 110, mostly elderly and young children. At least 31 people were killed on American Samoa, Governor Togiola Tulafono said. Officials in Tonga said nine people had been killed.
Samoan police commander Lilo Maiava predicted the toll would rise. “It may take a week, two weeks or even three weeks” to complete the search for the many people still missing, he said.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs said three Australians were among the dead. The British Foreign Office said one Briton was missing.