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Samoans Get Aid, Struggle to Move On


Samoans Get Aid, Struggle to Move On

Samoans Get Aid, Struggle to Move On

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The U.S. military, civilian agencies and private aid organizations have been providing assistance for tsunami-ravaged sections of American Samoa. Nearly 200 people died when the September 29 tsunami struck the Samoan islands and Tonga. Residents are struggling to move on, as they remember those lost.

The tsunami flattened nearly everything in the center of the village of Asili.

But most of the village's 600 people are staying close to their homes, says resident Gene Sevaaetasi. "There is a shelter here, but almost all the villagers are reluctant to use it, mainly because of the shock of the tsunami hasn't left anyone yet. And there are personal belongings that they are trying to stay near to," he said.

Supplies have started arriving, and Red Cross workers are showing the people how to put up their new tents.

The classmates of a sixth grade girl lost in the tsunami came for a final memorial, and school principal Evelyn Lilio says it was a moving experience. "We've come with many wonderful memories and one beautiful event that has taken place is that as soon as we arrive, whales appeared in the distance, and they moved in closer while we sang. So we've been very, very touched by that," she said.

Nikolao Pula of the U.S. Interior Department says the tsunami has been hard for everyone. "I think the people are overwhelmed because of the situation. Some are shocked, and of course there will always be those who need more help in different ways, in emotional, and we hope to receive some counseling for those folks. But the church groups here have been really helpful as well," he said.

Nerves for many here are raw. A tsunami watch Wednesday sent cars and busses heading for higher ground.

People in these in these stricken village say they need all the help they can get as the start rebuilding.

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