Mother nature has a way of shaking things up, and not always in a good way: Just before 7 a.m. Tuesday, an 8.0 and 8.3 magnitude earthquake hit 120 miles from the American Samoa, a U.S. territory, triggering a tsunami. Several large waves hit the National Park of the American Samoa, completely destroying the park’s visitor’s center and offices.
Some employees were swept up in the water, but eventually made it to higher ground. All of the park’s employees and volunteers are thankfully safe and accounted for. In addition to the destruction of the park’s visitor center and offices, the tsunami claimed at least one park employee’s home as well.
In the tsunami’s aftermath, damage assessment is already underway with FEMA on hand to manage the overall response. Although all park employees did make it to safety, others were not as lucky: Of the 65,000 residents of the island, fatality estimates range from one to several dozen people.