A technology and business leader in Salt Lake City, Misiona Patane, Jr. made key contributions to Utah’s relief efforts following the 2009 tsunami that affected Samoa. Mr. Patane maintains a deep interest in issues affecting quality of life for children and the elderly in Samoa.
In 2009, a powerful 8.1 magnitude submarine earthquake generated a tsunami that caused significant damage in Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga. In total, the disaster claimed 189 lives, with most of the casualties in Samoa. Twenty Samoan villages on the south side of the island of Upolu were destroyed.
In response to this tragedy, approximately 200 volunteers from the Samoan and Tongan communities in the state of Utah rallied to collect over 160,000 pounds of vital supplies. Volunteers collected life-saving food and water, along with medical supplies, tents, bedding, books, and toys for affected children. Donations from Utah traveled to Los Angeles, where they were combined with supplies collected by the local Samoan community prior to airlift to Apia, Samoa, and shipment to Niua, Tonga.
Thanks to the combined efforts of the community and government officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, those affected by the tsunami received essential relief supplies. This show of support supplemented international aid provided by governments and humanitarian organizations.