Local ties in Hawaii help storm victims in Samoa
Samoa has taken a beating from Cyclone Evan, which ripped through the island nation overnight. At last count, four people were killed and at least 8 others were reported missing.
Those in Hawaii with family and friends in the region are already mobilizing help for those affected by the storm. Gus Hannemann had been on the phone all morning on Saturday. He said even getting through to elected officials in Samoa right now is a challenge.
"They call two or three times to make a connection, and that's American Samoa. The other Samoa, trying to get a hold of (someone) is really tough," said Hannemann.
While Cyclone Evan spared most of American Samoa, the images now coming out from the independent state of Samoa show the widespread devastation left behind.
The death toll in Samoa has risen to four, with eight others missing after being swept away when Apia's main river burst its banks. It has forced about 4,000 people to flee their homes.
"As you can see now, we've just found one body, male between the age of 30 and 40. We're now continuing our search for other missing people."
With winds of up to 100 mph, damage to homes and infrastructure has been extensive. Food and water is a big concern.
Hanneman has spearheaded local fundraisers before for disaster victims in American Samoa.
This time, he said money is the best way to help.