Bay Area Mobilizes For Samoan Emergency

Oakland is home base for disaster relief in the Pacific

By Damian Trujillo
|  Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009  |  Updated 5:50 PM PDT
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Pacific Earthquake; Tsunami Watch

The local store "Soli & Mark's" turned to rubble in downtown American Samoa.

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Pacific Earthquake; Tsunami Watch

Hear from local island residents about the quake and the tsunami scare.
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Aftershocks from Tuesday's earthquake near American Samoa are hitting northern California. The region has strong links to the Pacific island, from family ties to official responsibilities.

Four tsunamis hit Samoa after the 8.0 magnitude quake, and at least 99 people are dead.

 

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At Mineta San Jose International Airport, Chris Annastas worked feverishly to check bags for people flying to American Samoa on Hawaiian Airlines. His job is more difficult today: His countrymen are in a state of panic back home, and his family in Samoa remains on his mind.

"They were actually spooked," said Annastas. "They're not used to stuff like this. They have an alert system, but it apparently did not go off."

Annastas said Hawaiian Airlines is providing cargo to send supplies and other necessities to the victims of the earthquake and Tsunami.

At the Oakland International Airport, NBC Bay Area cameras were aboard a FEMA plane from the agency's Region 9 Incident Management Assessment Team, headquartered in Oakland.

The region covers the western United States, plus Guam and American Samoa.

"We are taking a team of specialists to assess the damage and provide assistance to American Samoa," said crew member Casey De Shong.

And in Sacramento, a team from the  U.S. Coast Guard's Air Station Sacramento  boarded a plane, headed to the devastated area.

"What we're taking with is is our communication gear, satellite phones, and satellite Internet," said Chief Warrant Officer Munoz.

As American Samoa begins to recover from the human tragedy, Northern California heads to the region to lend a hand.

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