At least seven Australians have been injured after a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the South Pacific island nation of Samoa, the federal government says.
“The advice I have… is that we know at this stage seven Australians have been injured,” Mr Smith told ABC Radio from Singapore.
At least three Australians would be hospitalised overnight, Mr Smith said.
Officials hold concerns about an Australian woman who was reported to be in difficulty by one of the injured.
“Early reports don’t suggest that any of them are very serious[ly hurt], but they are in hospital,” parliamentary secretary for international development assistance Bob McMullan told Sky News.
Australian consular officials in Samoa were at local hospitals to offer assistance, he said.
“My advice is that the Australians are stable,” he said.
Offers of help, support
“All of them have been able to contact their own families directly and none of them have said to the high commission they need any special extra assistance.”
Mr McMullan said the government had offered assistance to the injured Australians.
Mr Smith said there were fears about the damage to the south-east of the island where Australians could be holidaying.
“Unfortunately that is where a lot of the luxury resorts and budget resorts are. “We’re concerned that a lot of Australians may be holidaying there.”
A taskforce would be dispatched to Samoa to reinforce Australian officials in the country in the next 24 hours, the foreign minister said.
The safety of all Australian officials and their families had been verified, he said.
Mr Smith said Australia had indicated to Samoa it could offer assistance but the Samoan government had not yet responded to the offer.
“Australia stands ready, willing and able to render any assistance we can,” he said.
Anyone concerned about the welfare of family and friends is urged to contact the department of foreign affairs emergency hotline on 1300 555 135.