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Tulafono dismisses lack of warning system during tsunami

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 16, 2009) – American Samoa’s Governor, Togiola Tulafono, says he does not believe a siren warning system would have saved any more lives in the September 29th earthquake-tsunami.

He says there was not enough time between when the earthquake struck the Territory and when the first wave rolled in.

34 people died in American Samoa as a result of the disasters.

A Cable News Network report has alleged that federal funds had been given for a siren warning system but the monies had been squandered by the local government.

But Governor Tulafono says there’s proof that public education and disaster training helped save lives.

He also says VHF radios that Homeland Security also helped them purchase came into operation that day.

"All of that and the outreach by the Department of Homeland Security and our Territorial Emergency Management Coordinating Office have done over the years, the Homeland Security signs, the tsunami signs you see on the roadside that warns you if you are there at that time when there is a warning to get out of the car go to a higher place, there’s a lot of things that were done and saved lives here."

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