Samoan officials shifted their focus from rescuing lives to providing survivors with food, water and power on Saturday, but stressed it didn't mean they were giving up on the missing five days after earthquake-triggered tsunami waves killed 170 in the region.
Electricity and water services were restored in about half of the affected villages in Samoa and American Samoa, and almost all of the territory was expected to have power from generators within three to five days, said Ken Tingman, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's federal coordinating officer. The death toll rose to 170, including 129 in Samoa, 32 in the nearby U.S. territory of American Samoa and nine in Tonga.
In Samoa, the government has proposed a mass funeral and burial this week. Samoa's tourism industry, meanwhile, said it feared a "second tsunami" of vacation cancellations after the deadly waves wiped out some of the South Pacific country's most idyllic white-sand beaches and resorts. Tourism is Samoa's largest industry. In American Samoa, a national prayer service for victims and survivors is scheduled for today.
Typhoon Parma cut a path across the Philippines' northern edge on Saturday, killing four people but sparing the capital from a second flood disaster as the storm churned toward Taiwan.
Tens of thousands of Filipinos had evacuated their homes as the storm bore down on the main island of Luzon just eight days after an earlier tempest left Manila awash in floods that killed almost 300 people.
Parma weakened slightly and changed course overnight Friday so that it missed central Luzon and clipped the more sparsely populated and mountainous north. Still, winds of 108 mph battered towns in at least two provinces and pelted the northeast of the country with downpours that swelled rivers, toppled power pylons and trees, and cut communication lines to outlying towns, officials said. Manila escaped the worst of the storm.
On Sept. 26, Tropical Storm Ketsana caused the worst flooding in four decades, killing at least 288 people and damaging the homes of 3 million. Another typhoon churning across the western Pacific, Melor, moved away from the Northern Mariana Islands today as residents began cleaning up from minor flooding.