President Trump increases American Samoa FEMA Cost-Share to 90% for Cyclone Gita
Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Aumua Amata is pleased to announce that joint efforts between herself, Governor Lolo, and their respective teams in American Samoa and Washington, D.C. resulted in President Trump’s Administration further reviewing American Samoa’s needs related to the impact from Cyclone Gita. Last night the President graciously amended the FEMA disaster declaration for American Samoa by increasing the Federal cost-share by 20% to a 90-10 split from a 75-25 split potentially reducing the ASG cost share by hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
On March 1, Aumua Amata wrote in the enclosed letter to President Trump a request for an increase of the Federal Match in support of Governor Lolo’s request as follows:
“As you are aware [Mr. President], American Samoa Governor Lolo M. Moliga made a request to your Administration, which I fully support, to declare a Major Disaster for the U.S. Territory of American Samoa as a result of Tropical Storm Gita and additional tropical monsoon weather that severely damaged public and private infrastructure, homes, businesses, and family farms during the period February 7 thru February 12, 2018…[and] due to American Samoa’s balanced budget requirement with current debt holders I emphasize the importance of waiving the required local match as it is unlikely that American Samoa will be able to meet the requisite match and a cost-sharing requirement will cause long delays in providing the necessary relief for 60,000 of its citizens. There is precedent for reductions to 0%-10%.”
Over the past several months attorneys for Aumua Amata and Governor Lolo in DC have worked with Administration officials to further educate White House and Administration personnel as to the unique economic circumstances and needs of American Samoa during the recovery process from Cyclone Gita as well as reminding them of the high rate of military service and unwavering loyalty of American Samoans.
This amendment makes it so that the American Samoa Government only has to provide a 10% match to receive Federal funds reduced from 25%.
“I want to thank President Trump for hearing the Governor and American Samoan Congressional office’s plea for additional assistance and amending the disaster declaration after a timely and thoughtful review—I look forward to our continued work with President Trump and Governor Lolo’s teams both in Washington, D.C. and in American Samoa on the continued recovery efforts from Cyclone Gita and on so many other important issues facing our community now and in the future.”
“I would also like to thank Governor Lolo and his team for their tireless work post Cyclone Gita and the Executive office staff in the White House and at FEMA in particular for their continued responsiveness on this and other vital issues facing American Samoa” said Congresswoman Aumua Amata.
PRESIDENT AMENDS AMERICAN SAMOA DISASTER DECLARATION
On March 2, 2018, President Donald J. Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the Territory of American Samoa triggering the release of Federal funds to help people and communities recover from Tropical Storm Gita that occurred February 7-12, 2018. This disaster declaration has been amended as indicated below in bold. Details of the disaster declaration and assistance programs are as follows:
Incident Period: February 7-12, 2018
Federal Coordinating Officer: Benigno Bern Ruiz
Individual Assistance (IA): (Assistance to individuals and households):
IA-Designated Areas: The Territory of American Samoa.
Public Assistance (PA): (Assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities):
PA-Designated Areas: The Territory of American Samoa. Direct federal assistance is authorized.
The President has approved a cost share adjustment for FEMA-4357-DR-AS. Under the President's order today, the Federal share for Public Assistance, Hazard Mitigation, and the Other Needs Assistance portion of the Individuals and Households Program has been increased to 90 percent of the total eligible costs.
Hazard Mitigation (HM): (Assistance for actions taken to prevent or reduce long term risk to life and property from natural hazards):
HM-Designated Areas: All areas in the Territory of American Samoa are eligible for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
OTHER: Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the Territory and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.