UPDATE: GITA: Registration opens today for Happy Valley and Petesa residents
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Residents of two subdivisions of Tafuna village impacted by Tropical Storm Gita are next on the list of those to register today, Thursday, at the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) inside the Pago Pago Community Youth Center for disaster assistance.
The DRC, operated jointly by the American Samoa Government (ASG) and the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), opened for registration this past Monday, with registration for Ottoville residents. Yesterday, registration continued for Tafuna village with individuals from Fagaima.
For today, it's for two subdivision of Tafuna:
• Happy Valley numbers 0001 – 0084; and
• Petesa numbers 0001 – 0165
Tomorrow, Friday is registration for Kokoland numbers 0001 – 0121.
Saturday is the make-up day for all Tafuna residents that need to register with FEMA.
ASG and FEMA remind the public that only heads of household need to attend the registration. For future village dates and times to register for federal assistance at the DRC, a schedule will be provided by ASG and FEMA.
Another reminder, is for applicants to have on hand the following information when registering at the DRC:
• Social Security number
• Address of the damaged primary residence
• Description of the damage
• Information about insurance coverage, if applicable
• A current contact telephone number
• An address where they can receive mail
• Bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds
According to the ASG/FEMA notice, individuals with access and functional needs who are heads of household and still need to register should call the Crisis Hotline at (684) 633-9017.
FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) Teams will then come to your home to register you — you do not need to come to the DRC. Additionally, those in Ottoville already visited by DSA, with slips that have DSA written on them, do not have to come to the DRC, as they are already registered with FEMA.
And if you have been seen at the DRC and have completed all the requirements, “please make sure you are at home when FEMA inspectors come to inspect your place,” says ASG/FEMA.
Meanwhile, many residents, whose homes and personal property were either destroyed or damaged by Gita, have told Samoa News — over the past couple of days — that they are very pleased with how the registration process is being conducted, with numbers assigned to people during pre-registration.
“If you’re a full time worker, like myself, at least I know there is a certain day for me and others to show up, and not for everyone on island to show up at the DRC all in one day,” said a local resident, who is a private sector employee.
Others workers agreed, saying that at least the person knows when to show up at the DRC so that appropriate time is taken off work to get the registration done and get financial assistance.
So far the registration process has gone well, according to ASG officials and those who have already registered. “Everyone is very patient and there are also Samoan translators on hand to help our people,” said an ASG official.
The US Small Business Administration, which has 15 representatives at the DRC, are again urging all who were impacted by Gita to “please register” at the DRC to ensure that all disaster survivors are aware of the many disaster assistance programs available through SBA and FEMA.
Through a “cooperative agreement,” SBA said it has 20 organizations participating as Veterans Business Outreach Centers to provide entrepreneurial development, business training, counseling, and mentoring for eligible veterans who own or are starting small businesses.
Contact the Veterans Business Outreach Center at (808) 987-5245 or www.hilo.hawaii.edu/vboc for more information.