The Pacific islands were so close to the epicentre of the earthquake that a wall of water hit Samoa within eight minutes after the Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii sent its first bulletin Tuesday.
Several Samoans said they heard no sirens or warnings, but fled as soon as they were woken up by the earthquake.
Nevertheless, the fact that scores left for safety underlined that lessons from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamis have not been forgotten.
8 minutes to get to the high ground, and yet a lot of people did it. This was an amazing response! Far better than people collecting shellfish when all the water goes out!