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GITA UPDATE: DRC inside DYWA Pago Pago Center offering help with specialists

Pago Page, AMERICAN SAMOA — Local residents who were impacted by Tropical Storm Gita but have questions or are in need of help with disaster assistance can get answers or referrals at the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), which is jointly operated by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and ASG.

“Do you have a question about your registration with FEMA? Did you get a letter or phone call that you did not understand?” — were the questions cited in a joint FEMA/ASG statement yesterday.

The DRC, located inside the DYWA Pago Pago Center is the place to get help.

The statement notes that experts from the following agencies are there to help at the DRC:

•     Disaster housing specialists can answer questions about rental assistance, home repair and loss of personal property

•     US Small Business Administration representatives can help with one-on-one assistance to complete disaster loan applications for homeowners, renters, and private non-profits as well as businesses. SBA disaster loans carry interest rates as low as 1.813% and loan terms up to 30 years.

•     Disaster Legal Services may offer free help with legal issues regarding insurance claims, contracts, new wills, land ownership and occupancy, problems with contracts and contractors or with other legal matters.

•     Department of Human and Social Services may help individuals with health issues.

•     US Social Security Administration may help file for social security benefits or answer questions about current benefits.

•     ASG Department of Commerce can help with land use issues.

•     ASG Department of Public Works can help with issues on home repair.

•     American Samoa Power Authority can help with issues of electrical service to the home or business.

•     Crisis counselors can help people cope with issues that arose because of the disaster such as anger, nightmares, depression, headaches, nausea or increased use of alcohol or drugs.

•     Mitigation specialists have publications to help you rebuild or repair to make your structures stronger.

Extra support, such as magnifying glasses, sign language interpreters and information in Braille, is available, according to the joint statement.

“No matter what you need, DRC specialists can help you or refer you to someone who can,” it says. Specialists with friendly faces are available to assist the public.

The DRC is open Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and closed on Sundays.