“DO NOT WAIT for FEMA …”
As recover continues on Tutuila in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Gita more than a week ago, residents are urged not to wait for the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “if you can take action yourself,” while all public schools will resume classes Tuesday, Feb. 20.
Samoa News points out that many impacted residents, whose homes were damaged or destroyed started clean up immediately on the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 9 while the storm’s strong winds were still blowing as it moved away from Tutuila.
In its latest post-storm special bulletins, the Emergency Operations Center says that FEMA advises the public to please “DO NOT WAIT for FEMA. Take pictures and make repairs. Do not wait for assistance if you can take action yourself.”
EOC also stressed that FEMA’s program for filing claims for federal assistance is NOT available at this time. The public is asked to be patient as EOC Damage Assessment teams work jointly with FEMA to complete the preliminary damage assessments report.
“Some homes are difficult to access and our joint assessment teams are trying their best to gather all the necessary information for a complete report so everyone can receive the appropriate assistance as soon as possible,” according to EOC.
Furthermore, FEMA is not hiring right now. Updated information will be provided through the radio and newspaper if employment is needed. FEMA does not provide the same services like that of the American Red Cross American Samoa, which can be reached at 699-6011 for more information on types of assistance it offers.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND ASCC
The Department of Education says all public schools are set to reopen Tuesday, Feb. 2 — which is also the date classes at the American Samoa Community College will resume.
Monday, Feb. 19 is a local and federal holiday and all ASG offices will be closed, along with many businesses including the three local banks.
American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) thanked the public for their patience as crews continue to restore power to areas still without electricity due to safety reasons causing delays. ASPA customers without power, contact 699-1234, 770-1600, 770-1601 to register your name on the list for the service order.
Samoa News has confirmed with several residents that some areas — including Ili’iili and behind the Golf Course — are still without electricity as of Saturday.
As of 6p.m Feb. 16 nearly 80% of customers have power, according to ASPA, adding that all feeders — primary lines — are energized up to Fagamalo. However, remaining areas are in small pockets of Tualauta with broken poles and power lines.
ASPA Facebook page provides the latest update on their restoration plan for all areas without electricity.
American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority (ASTCA) has four communication towers that are down causing delays to returning telephone service to normal in a few areas.
Bluesky Communications issued their own announcement that it is also working to restore service to all affected areas with crews working around the clock. Call Bluesky to file a report if your internet and cable service is not back on, after electricity is restored. Check with Bluesky American Samoa’s Facebook page for updates.
OTHER EOC UPDATES:
• LBJ hospital satellite pharmacy at the Tafuna health center will reopen Feb. 20. All prescriptions should be filled at the Pharmacy in Fagaalu. All hospital clinics and services are open during regular hours. Also a reminder, LBJ Computerized Tomography (CT) scan services are currently unavailable until further notice. For more information call 633-1222 ext. 543.
• The shelter that was located at Samoana High School is now closed. For more information call Department of Human and Social Services at 633-2696.
• Health Department reminds the public all health clinics in Tafuna, Leone and Amouli and two in Manu’a are open.
• American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency informs the public that water vending machines have been tested and these three vending machines are not safe for human consumption: 1. Chin Mart (Alofau) 2. Happy Mart (L)* (Nuuuli) 3. Add 1 Store* (Iliili).
Report any flooding or landslides to the EOC at 699-3800, or the Police at 633-1111.