MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda has expressed his deepest sympathy and offered ADB assistance to Samoa for the loss of lives and destruction of property following the tsunami and earthquake of 29 September 2009.

"On behalf of ADB, its staff and Management, I would like to express our deepest sympathy to the people and the Government of Samoa, and in particular to those most directly affected," said Mr. Kuroda in a letter to Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. "As a development partner of longstanding to Samoa, we stand ready to provide whatever assistance is within our powers."

ADB's South Pacific Sub-regional Office (SPSO), based in Suva, Fiji, will coordinate ADB's emergency response to the disaster. It is working closely with the Government of Samoa and other development partners to determine both immediate and long-term needs and recommend appropriate assistance for affected communities.

A massive tsunami triggered by an 8.0-magnitude undersea earthquake struck Samoa on Tuesday, causing widespread destruction. It is estimated to have killed at least 148 people and left tens of thousands seeking shelter across the island.

ADB has maintained a long and active presence in Samoa, providing a range of development assistance in the form of loans, grants and technical assistance. The island-nation joined ADB at the bank's founding in 1966.