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APIA - Samoan tourist resorts have been "devastated" by a violent quake and tsunami that hit the tiny Pacific island nation on Tuesday, the deputy prime minister said as holidaymakers recounted horrifying scenes.
Misa Telefoni said the powerful waves, that killed at least 47 people in the country, had smashed into upmarket island resorts off the coast of the main island of Upolu after the 8,0-magnitude quake.
"We've heard that most of the resorts are totally devastated on that side of the island," he told Australian Associated Press.
"We've had a pretty grim picture painted of all that coast."
Telefoni said that his cousin Joe Annandale, who owns the upmarket Sinalei Reef Resort, was in a critical condition in hospital and his cousin's wife had drowned.
As officials confirmed that two South Koreans and an Australian were among the dead, holidaymakers said that some areas had been completely flattened.
"There will be people in a great lot of need round here," New Zealand tourist Graeme Ansell told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from Upolu.
"It's flattened, it's just flattened. It was very quick and it's flattened."
Wendy Booth, who owns the Sea Breeze resort, said she and her husband clung to a handrail to stop being sucked out to sea.
"The second wave hit and came up through the floor, pushed out the back door and threw us outside," she told commercial radio."
"The force and ferocity of the wave took furniture through the roof."
Another witness, Tony Manson, said the resort was destroyed. - Sapa-AFP