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ASG-FEMA pre-registration begins today for Tafuna— and subdivisions

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — To prepare local residents impacted by Tropical Storm Gita, for the implementation of federal assistance programs after the US Presidential major disaster declaration, the government is moving forward with pre-registration starting today, at Tafuna village for all its subdivisions.

Pre-registration of residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed is part of the joint action plan, between the America Samoa Government and its federal partners — led by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency — that was discussed during a weekend post-storm briefing at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Tafuna.

Among the general objectives of the action plan is conducting pre-registration in the affected areas, to be completed by Mar. 12th. Tafuna is one of the most affected areas, according to the action plan.

In its special bulletin issued Monday evening, EOC announced the locations in Tafuna for pre-registration today, Wednesday, from 7:30am-6pm:

Fagaima at the Ave o le Fetuao Methodist Church Hall;

Kokoland at the EFKAS Ierusalema Fou Hall;

Ottoville at the LDS Stakecenter;

Happy Valley at the Heart of Worship; and

Petesa will meet at Petesa Tai EFKAS Church Hall

During a joint Samoa News/ KSBS-FM interview on Monday afternoon, EOC public information officer, Tuimavave Tauapa’i Laupola explained that Tafuna is one of the areas that was “most affected” by the storm in “terms of the number of homes” that were either destroyed or damage.

The EOC post-storm briefing over the weekend included a map of specific areas with homes that were labeled destroyed or suffered major damage.

An incident status summary report from the briefing shows that a total of 206 individual home structures were destroyed — based on the more than 1,400 homes assessed during the first assessment, carried out two days after the storm.

After pre-registration for Tafuna, the next village is Nu’uuli followed by other villages most impacted and have already been identified by the government, according to the EOC weekend post-storm briefing.

EOC will release soon the next area for pre-registration including the locations and time.

Tuimavave, who is also the director of the ASG Office of Public Information, noted that the joint preliminary assessment with the feds is already completed and a second ASG assessment carried out last week, was to be completed this week.

However, he said everyone whose homes were affected by the storm would have to register again in order to file a claim for federal assistance. And the process starts with pre-registration, where the person will be given a list of all the required documents needed when it comes time for the actual registration to file federal claims.

Also during pre-registration, the person is a given a ticket number. For example — Fagaima 001 — and the person needs to bring this number at the actual time of registration.

EOC will announce the designated date, time and location, for these ticket numbers to register and file a FEMA claim.

And if the person misses the designated time and date of registration, there is still a chance to register at a later date.

“During pre-registration, we ask that you please use your name that’s on your identification card, don’t use a nickname, because it will be hard to trace you,” said Tuimavave, who also asked that people use a valid/ correct telephone number.

IDs include driver’s licenses and passports.

Tuimavave, along with a FEMA official, gave a briefing of the pre-registration process and other information to village mayors during a meeting at the Office of Samoan Affairs’ conference room this past Monday.

Village mayors will be working closely with ASG task force teams assigned to each pre-registration location. They will also communicate out to villages information pertaining to pre-registration and when it's actual registration time.

ASG officials are also making the rounds at broadcast stations on island to keep the public updated on post-storm activities.

“The key to success for this whole operation, is communication and that the public understands the sequence of events and how the actual implementation of the registration moves forward,” said Tuimavave.

And “while the government and FEMA are collaborating to fine tune all the plans for rolling out the registration process for federal assistance, we ask the public to be patient as we roll out these plans,” he continued.

As for the private sector — local businesses and nonprofit organizations, which suffered losses due to the storm — Tuimavave said they would also be given the same opportunity to register for federal aid.

“Everyone will be afforded the same opportunity to register to be able to file a claim,” he explained.

FEMA is expected to announce in the coming days, the location of the Disaster Recovery Center, where people can begin the registration process to file their claims.