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American Samoa better prepared 3 years after killer tsunami

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 1:10 p.m. HST, Sep 29, 2012

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa >> It’s been three years since the 2009 tsunami spawned by an 8.7-magnitude earthquake killed 34 people in American Samoa and more than 100 in neighboring Samoa.

Three years after the Sept. 29 devastation, American Samoa has earned a special tsunami-readiness designation from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA says the TsunamiReady designation makes the U.S. Pacific island territory more prepared for a future tsunami.

Several villages were destroyed when the tsunami struck 17 minutes after the earthquake about 120 miles south of Pago Pago.

To receive the designation, a community must establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center. There must also be multiple ways to receive tsunami warnings and alert the public. A formal hazard plan must be developed, along with emergency exercises and public readiness education.

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