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American Samoa Picks Up Pieces After Hurricane Tusi

January 20, 1987

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP) _ Medical teams and emergency supplies were airlifted to a group of islands near here after a hurricane that flattened homes and destroyed plantations.

Meanwhile, 37 people who were injured in Hurricane Tusi early Sunday arrived for treatment Monday.

About 100 people were hurt and more than 2,000 left homeless when 110-mph winds swept past the Manua Islands about 60 miles east of here, officials said. The storm did at least $80 million in damages, said Aleni Ripine, spokesman for American Samoa Gov. A.P. Lutali.

″One of my friends from Vietnam told me it looked like sort of a napalm bomb had gone through the islands,″ Ripine said. ″It is pretty devastated.″

Runways were cleared of debris before the airlifts to the islands of Ofu, Osdosega and Tau, which began Sunday and continued Monday.

Fishing vessels and other boats also ferried supplies from Pago Pago, the capital of this U.S. territory about 2,600 miles south-southwest of Honolulu.

Sixteen of the 37 people flown to Pago Pago for treatment were admitted to the Lyndon B. Johnson Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Ete Lutu. One person was in critical condition, and one in serious condition. The others were treated for less serious injuries.

While relief officials fanned out throughout the islands, islanders seemed to be making the best of the situation, said Lewis Wolman, managing editor of the Samoa News in Pago Pago, who visited the area Monday.

″You can’t imagine how casual it is over there. They (the villagers) have already been through it, the hurricane is over,″ Wolman said. ″It is too much work to rebuild your home today, so nobody is doing much except trying to dry out clothes.″

On Monday night, Hurricane Tusi was reported to be about 600 miles southeast of here, moving east-southeast at about 21 mph with winds of about 66 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

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