The earthquake which shook Samoa at 7:39pm Thursday evening had a Richter scale reading of 6.1. The epicenter was near the Tongan trench region and it was caused by slight collisions of the tectonic plates. It occurred at a depth of about 35km which is why the tremors were felt all the way to Samoa.
“There was no damage reported and no tsunami was generated,” said Filomena Nelson who is the acting Chief Executive Officer at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) Disaster Management Office (D.M.O.)
Earthquakes cannot be predicted with any modern technology making it hard to get warnings out before they occur. There are only machines that read the earthquakes wavelength frequencies as they happen, but by then it is too late for warnings to go out.
So since this natural disaster is hard to predict, the only thing the D.M.O. can do is prepare the people for when earthquakes/tsunamis hit.
“People need to know what to do when an earthquake occurs and if it’s strong enough to generate a tsunami we need to make sure people get out of danger,” Nelson said.
To ensure the safety of the people Ms Nelson said the D.M.O. places signs at tsunami danger zones in urban areas with accordance to mapped out areas to help warn people.
“ We also have programmes in villages away from Apia which include the placing of the signs along with helping people with earthquake/tsunami awareness.”
One of the main messages the D. M. O. has been putting out is “to be prepared and know what to do in-case an unpredicted earthquake strikes” Ms Nelson said.
“We also have many helpful procedures in the Yellow Pages of the phone book that will help with awareness.”