HONOLULU (KHNL) - More than two dozen local community leaders of Samoan ancestry met in Honolulu Wednesday to plan a prayer service and relief efforts for the victims.
In the Samoan culture prayer plays an important role.
"We pray all the time, in American Samoa in Samoa, you go there six oh clock in the evenings and you can't drive through to anything because there's a prayer hour," Prayer service organizer Gus Hannemann said.
That prayer is what gets them through difficult situations like the recent disasters there.
Meanwhile, here on Oahu, Hannemann is organizing a huge prayer service, for victims of both American and Western Samoa.
"We all one people, one language, one culture, the only thing is we're about 65 miles apart, like my family, the Hannemann's, they came from Western Samoa, but my mother is from American Samoa," Hannemann said.
Among the groups planning to attend this event are several church leaders, government workers, military personnel, and even representatives of the Hawaiian Civic Clubs.
In the days ahead, the group will determine the immediate needs in Samoa, and help wherever they can with both private and public support.
"What I'm telling them, the first thing you do is you pray like we always do, and the second thing you do is that you donate money to your own family," Hannemann said.
The group plans a vigil in the coming weeks.