ROTARY CLUB TO HOST ANNUAL TSUNAMI MEMORIAL REMEMBRANCE
The Rotary Club of Pago Pago will hold its annual Tsunami Memorial Remembrance Service on Saturday, Sept. 24 to remember and honor the victims and survivors of the Sept. 29, 2009 tsunami, which claimed 34 lives in American Samoa. The Rotary Club, which co-hosts the event with Hawaiian Airlines usually holds the ceremony on the weekend before the tsunami anniversary, which this year falls on a Thursday - Sept. 29, 2016.
The remembrance service is scheduled from 11:30a.m. - 12:30p.m. at the Tsunami Memorial Picnic Shelter — the one closest to the tennis courts — at Lion’s Park. And the public is invited to join with the families of the 2009 Tsunami victims for the service, where family members are invited to give testimonials to their lost family and friends.
At the service, Human and Social Services will support the memorial service as part of the National Recovery and Wellness Healing for the month of September.
At this point there has been no official announcement if the government will hold a tsunami memorial service before or on Sept. 29. Samoa News is awaiting information from the village of Leone on plans for a memorial service at the Leone Healing Garden, dedicated to the memory of village residents who lost their lives in the tsunami, which claimed more than 100 lives in Samoa and three in Tonga. A powerful earthquake in the region caused the massive tsunami.
TSUNAMI AWARENESS WEEK KICKS OFF ON SATURDAY
The local Department of Homeland Security kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 24 the Tsunami Awareness Week with an event at the Veterans Memorial Stadium and children are encouraged to attend, as they will participate — in among other things, a “wave” from the grandstand, to simulate a wave in the ocean.
Then from next week Monday to Friday, evacuation drills will be held at costal area schools starting from Alataualua Elementary School at Nua/Seetaga, followed by Nu’uuli Vocational Technical High School, Aua Elementary School, Masefau Elementary (which is Thursday Sept. 29), and SPICC at Fatumafuti.
Meanwhile, the local Homeland Security reminds the public that September is National Preparedness Month, which serves as a reminder that “we all must take action to prepare now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work and also where we visit.”
TWO CRUISE SHIPS TO ARRVE IN PAGO PAGO SAME DAY
Two cruise ships — both on their second visit to American Samoa this year — will be calling into the Port of Pago Pago on the same day next month bringing more than 6,000 temporary visitors to our shores.
American Samoa Visitors Bureau executive director David Vaeafe said both ships will arrive Oct. 14 with the Noordam sailing into port around 8a.m. from Hilo, Hawai’i and departing at 6p.m. heading to Suva Fiji - with 3,186 passengers and crew members.
Then around 2p.m the Costa Luminosa ship arrives in port from Honolulu, Hawai’i and departs at 8p.m. for Nuku’alofa, Tonga — with just over 3,700 passengers and crew.
Vaeafe said the good thing about cruise ships arriving from Hawai’i — a five day-sail — is that “everyone wants to get off the ship upon docking and this will benefit local vendors, including restaurants, with our visitors wanting to explore Tutuila.”
He said vendors will be set up at the Fagatogo malae and “American Samoa looks forward to welcoming our new visitors.”
According to Visitors Bureau records, this is the third time in recent memory that the Port of Pago Pago will host two cruise ships on one day. The first was on Oct. 8, 2010 — which proved that the port can accommodate two large cruise ships on one day — and the second time was Feb. 1, 2014.
After the two ships arriving on Oct. 14 leave, there are three more scheduled to arrive in 2016, with the last one — Costa Atlantica — on its maiden sail to Pago Pago — arriving Dec. 17 and this is a charter cruise, sailing from China, carrying just over 3,000 passengers and crew.