Page last updated at 21:02 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 22:02 UK

Britons' child missing in tsunami

Tsunami damage on islands in the South Pacific
The powerful quake generated waves 36ft (11m) high in some areas

The child of a British couple is missing presumed dead after a tsunami hit the South Pacific island of Samoa, the Foreign Office (FO) has said.

The two-year-old's parents were receiving consular assistance at the New Zealand High Commission, Samoa's British Honorary Consulate said.

A spokesman for the British High Commission in New Zealand said the missing boy was a New Zealand citizen.

The tsunami killed more than 100 people in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.

'Villages destroyed'

Regional tsunami warnings have also been issued in Indonesia after a strong earthquake with a 7.9 magnitude struck off the coast of Sumatra.

All of us watching these scenes will be shocked and saddened at the sheer scale of the devastation. We stand ready to help in any way we can
Gordon Brown

British Honorary Consulate Dr Stephen Rogers, based in Apia in the north of the island, said there were no other reports of UK casualties.

"We have a number of British people who have lost all their possessions," he said.

"We've also had calls from a number of Brits in different accommodation who are claiming to be okay. We've had calls from the UK about people we've got no information about."

About 20 Britons are thought to have been on Samoa at the time the tsunami struck.

Dr Rogers said the initial quake shook the entire island and damaged buildings, but added that the devastation was largely confined to the south east.

Map showing location of Samoan tsunami

He said 36ft (11m) waves swept inshore about half an hour after the quake, washing away anything in its path, including roads and houses.

He also said he managed to pick up five Britons in their 20s and 30s - including three tourists.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has sent his "heartfelt condolences" to the people of Samoa, Tonga and the Philippines .

He said: "All of us watching these scenes will be shocked and saddened at the sheer scale of the devastation. We stand ready to help in any way we can".

The tremor, with a magnitude of between 8 and 8.3, struck about 120 miles from American Samoa.

Samoan officials say whole villages have been destroyed with thousands reportedly left homeless in American Samoa.

The Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to Samoa and Tonga until further notice.



Print Sponsor




FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific