ASG finds home damages range from “destroyed” to “affected”
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The territorial government’s latest damage assessment of homes affected last week by a monsoon trough and two back-to-back tropical storms, have identified two homes that were destroyed and members of these two homes are now staying with neighbors or relatives.
This is according to the 4p.m. ASG storm update briefing Sunday at the Emergency Operations Center and attended by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, who directed local Homeland Security Department and ASG officials to identify ways that the government can help affected families.
According to the damage assessment report — from Feb. 18 to Feb 22 — presented at the briefing, two homes were destroyed; six sustained major damage; 32 homes were “affected” by either water, wind or other types of damages; and there were 18 homes with minor damages.
The ASG assessment teams used the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) formula for the designations of homes.
According to the assessment report, the two homes were destroyed between Feb. 18 and 19th — which is during damaging winds and heavy rain from the monsoon trough.
Lolo said ASG should by now come up with suggestions and ideas to assist the affected families and he wants a report submitted to himself and Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga, on those recommendations and how to implement them.
ASG charted a Samoa Airways flight yesterday morning with officials heading to Manu’a to carry out damage assessment there.
The two domestic airports in Manu’a were re-opened Sunday as well as the harbors there, while ASG is awaiting confirmation from the Samoa government when the MV Fotu-o-Samoa will sail here for the two ASG charters to take necessary supplies and other emergency needs, including fuel for Manu’a.
POWER AND WATER
American Samoa Power Authority reports that as of 4p.m. Sunday, twenty-five individual families were still without power due to damage to their service lines or houses. Crews continued restorations yesterday.
The ASPA report shows that many of the families without power, have damaged meter sockets.
In a notice posted Sunday evening on its Facebook page, ASPA noted said it still has over 25 customers that sustained damage to their house and meter sockets. “We ask that you please fix the needed repairs and call in once you are done so we can make it out to put you back up,” it says, adding that power is fully restored to all villages in the territory including pockets in villages EXCEPT those 25 that need to complete their repairs.
It also says that water is fully restored to all villages in the territory and the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency, “will be testing the ASPA water system this week so we can lift the precautionary boil water notice still in effect.”
At the EOC briefing, ASPA also gave an update on all public schools, which now have 99.9% power to all schools except for Olosega Elementary School, which needs the electric socket meter replaced, as it was damaged.
Lolo directed ASPA to assist families who need to have their power restored and for ASPA to find a new place for the meter socket at Olosega school, instead of its current location.
Information provided at the briefing shows that the Olosega Elementary has a very old meter socket and the switch panel is installed at floor level and was under water.
Lolo said this meter socket faces this same problem every time there’s a storm and wants it relocated.
According to ASPA, crew on Tutuila is standing by to be dispatched to Manu’a to assess electric systems for PV and will energize the PV if its safe. Additionally, Manu’a power plants are in need of new fuel supplies.
Samoa Airways officials said yesterday that it’s inter Samoa flight resumed Sunday as soon as the Pago Pago International Airport reopened that afternoon. And they were back on “full operation” yesterday, including flights to Manu’a, as well as a charter by ASG.
Talofa Airways has also resumed its flight operations on the inter Samoa route.
For Hawaiian Airlines, airline spokesman Alex Da Silva said from Honolulu that “we are back in operation” starting with last night’s flight from Honolulu and “going forward.”
Port Administration has again asked the public to contact the individual airlines for their flight schedules and not the Airport Division or the Emergency Operations Center, which doesn’t have flight schedule.
With the airport re-open, the Health Department screening for measles and coronavirus has began again.
During the ASG briefing early last week, Health director Motusa Tuileama Nua said that the airlines are fully cooperating with the screening of passengers before they are boarded so travelers fully comply with the current measure implemented due to the measles outbreak and the threat of coronavirus.
Among the restrictive travel requirements is that a person arriving in Honolulu from a country with coronvavirus will remain in Hawaii for the 14-quarantine period, before traveling to the territory. Those who do not comply with the requirement will be quarantined at the Leone Health Center, the designated ASG quarantine facility.