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Update: US Presidential major disaster declaration submitted

Red Cross Volunteers hard at work at some of the Red Cross Point of distribution centers at the West side of the island over the weekend. At some PODs, frustrated residents, verbally abused volunteers, after standing in long lines only to find out that their names were not on the list. Residents were given phone numbers instead of supplies and told to contact the EOC to have their homes assessed and put on a list for emergency supplies. [Photo: THA]
BTW: You need to use your name on your ID when asking for help

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has submitted a request for a US Presidential major disaster declaration, which would pave the way for federal aid to American Samoa in the wake of Tropical Storm Gita that hit the territory on Feb. 9th.

In its 6p.m bulletin on Feb. 26, the Emergency Operations Center said the governor’s request was signed Feb. 25 and transmitted to the Region 9 office of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in California, which has received it already and it is being routed to Washington D.C.

American Samoa is currently under a presidential emergency declaration, which allows for limited direct federal assistance to the local government.

The initial joint federal and local government’s post-Gita damage assessments of individual homes and public infrastructure have been completed, and made part of the governor’s request for a major disaster declaration for federal assistance.

Specific details of the governor’s request are not immediately available and the time frame of when a decision would be made by the US President is unknown.

EOC is asking the public to be patient as American Samoa awaits a response from the federal government to the governor’s request.

Additionally, FEMA’s program to file claims for federal assistance is not available at this time — as this too awaits the fed government’s response.

The public is also reminded to contact your village pulenu’u at the Office of Samoan Affairs (633-5201) or EOC (699-3800) if your home suffered damages from Gita and an assessment has not been completed.


Samoa News has been told that some families are not getting the help they need, because their requests for help are not being submitted correctly — that is when you submit your request make sure the name you use is the same name on your ID, or form of identification you use to verify yourself — Immigration ID, passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, etc.

This is the name that will be on the list that FEMA or the Red Cross use to give out help; and your ID will verify that it is you. And while your village pulenu’u can also probably verify your identity — why take the chance, as some found out when they went to the distribution centers.

Samoa News was told of cases where the ‘help’ — tent, kit, cooler, etc. — was there to be given, but personnel could not release it as the IDs presented did not match the name on the list, according to reports from some families, who were turned away from the distribution centers, with only a piece of paper with a number to call to ‘resubmit’ their requests, or in some cases when Red Cross turned up to deliver a ‘tent’.


A second round of assessment following Tropical Storm Gita is scheduled to begin today, Wednesday, Feb. 28th. ASG assessment teams will conduct assessments and record damages to homes.
According to the list released after 6a.m. today, Wednesday, by the Emergency Operations Center, the following teams and villages will be covered .

TEAM 1:  Tafuna:  Kokoland, Fagaima, Ottoville, Petesa
TEAM 2:  Upper Iliili, Lower Iliili, Vaitogi, Fogagogo
TEAM 3:  Pavaiai, Faleniu, Malaeimi, Mesepa
TEAM 4:  Aasu, Aoloau, Tafeta, Mapusaga Fou
TEAM 5:  Leone: Sogi, Puapua, Malaeloa, Taputimu, Vailoa, Futiga
TEAM 6:  Amaluia, Afao, Asili, Nua & Seetaga, Amanave, Poloa, Fagalii, Fagamalo, Fagamutu
TEAM 7:  Matuu, Nuuuli, Fagasa, Coconut Point (Nuuuli)
TEAM 8:  Fatumafuti, Fagaalu, Utulei, Fagatogo, Pago Pago, Aua
TEAM 9:  Laulii, Amaua, Auto, Utusia, Fagaitua, Pagai, Afono, Vatia, Masausi, Masefau, Sailele
TEAM 10:  Utumea, Amouli, Aoa, Alofau, Alao, Auasi, Aunuu, & Onenoa