11 Samoans Still Missing After Cyclone Feared Dead

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Current confirmed death toll stands at 5

By Lanuola Tupufia

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Dec. 31, 2012) – Hope is fading in the search for eleven people who have been missing since Cyclone Evan smashed into Samoa two weeks ago.

And should they be declared dead, it would take the death toll to 16, making Evan one of the worst cyclones in history in terms of casualties.

So far, five people have been confirmed dead. The Police confirmed their identities yesterday. They are:

But Assistant Police Commissioner, Le’aupepe Fatu Pula refused to speculate about the future of the search for the missing people.

During an interview with the Sunday Samoan, he insisted that the missing people would not be declared dead "for a very long time." He also declined to reveal their identities yet.

Contacted for a comment, Principal Officer of the National Disaster Management Office, Filomena Nelson said "the list [of the missing people] has not been released to us."

"Please contact the Police," she said.

According to the Press secretariat, the Police are continuing their investigation. Nine of the eleven missing people went missing at sea. The other two missing persons include one from the Vaisigano basin and one from Faleasiu.

Today is the 17th day since Cyclone Evan struck Samoa and hopes for finding the missing people are getting slimmer by the day.

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