Deadly Typhoon Hits the Philippines; Earthquake Strikes Indonesia; Tsunami Devastates Samoa
OCTOBER 1, 2009 - The past week has seen the Asia-Pacific region reeling from a group of catastrophic events that has left scores dead and millions homeless in the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Samoan Islands.
In the Philippines Saturday, September 26, 2009, Tropical Storm Ketsana (known locally as Ondoy) dumped an entire month's worth of rainfall on the island of Luzon in the span of six hours, triggering deadly flash floods. The storm killed at least 277 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more, according to BBC News. The storm, which strengthened into a typhoon, also hit Vietnam, killing at least 92.
Late Wednesday, an 8.3-magnitude quake struck near the coasts of the Samoan Islands. Soon after, four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet (4 to 5 meters) high battered Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga, killing at least 150 people on all three islands. According to the he Associated Press, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said it issued an alert, but the waves came so quickly that residents only had about 10 minutes to respond. US President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in American Samoa and pledged a "swift and aggressive" government response.
Early Thursday, an earthquake struck northwest of Padang, Western Sumatra, Indonesia. The quake was recorded at a magnitude of 7.6 and caused buildings to collapse and set off landslides, according to the BBC. A second earthquake struck close to Padang fewer than nine hours later. United Nations officials said the death toll from the two earthquakes has now surpassed 1,100.
Reported by Stephanie Valera, Asia Society Online
HOW TO HELP
The following aid agencies are accepting contributions to help those affected by the typhoons and flooding in the Philippines, earthquakes in Indonesia and the tsunami in Samoa:
Asia Society believes the organizations listed above have experience in disaster relief and an existing presence in the countries affected, and are therefore likely to be able to assist during this crisis. The list is by no means complete and the inclusion of an organization is neither an endorsement nor a guarantee that donations will be utilized effectively. Donors are urged to use their best judgment when deciding to contribute.