Laie mourns losses in Samoa

Delsa Moe's family back in Independent Samoa yesterday hastily buried her cousin after she had been swept out to sea by Tuesday's killer tsunami, making the 2,600-mile distance between Hawai'i and home seem that much farther away.

Another of Moe's cousins, in American Samoa, also died in the killer surge.

"The morgues and hospitals are all full," Moe said. "They had to bury her so quickly, where normally they would wait until all of the family could come home and grieve and tell stories about her life."

But Moe has found comfort in being around others like herself in this corner of Windward O'ahu, where it seems that almost everyone is suffering the same feelings of loss and grief — or the frustration of not knowing whether family members survived the earthquake and tsunami.

La'ie was a former city of refuge when Mormon leaders built a temple here in 1919, providing familiar support for Samoans on O'ahu who had been raised in the Mormon faith back home, said Moe, the cultural presentations director at the Polynesian Cultural Center, which is adjacent to Brigham Young University-Hawai'i in La'ie.

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