A report on the response to the tsunami that hit Samoa shows that preparedness and evacuation planning saved lives even though they had barely eight minutes after the warning from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Countries like India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have enough distance from the unstable Sunda Trench and therefore are likely to have more time to organize evacuations. For Indonesia and Thailand, unfortunately, the time will be less.
The Pacific islands were so close to the epicentre of the earthquake that a wall of water hit Samoa within eight minutes after the Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii sent its first bulletin Tuesday.
Several Samoans said they heard no sirens or warnings, but fled as soon as they were woken up by the earthquake.
Nevertheless, the fact that scores left for safety underlined that lessons from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamis have not been forgotten.