FEMA supply chain study will better prepare the territory for disaster recovery
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — American Samoa will participate in a federal supply chain study in the Pacific region, which includes Hawaii and the other U.S Pacific territories and will be conducted by the U.S Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
This was confirmed in a news release yesterday from the Governor’s Office following an introductory meeting last Friday, led by FEMA along with Dewberry contractors at their Washington D.C. headquarters.
The meeting focused on the Logistics Construction Support Contract for the Supply Chain Analysis Network — or the LCSC-SCAN Pacific Supply Chain Risk & Vulnerability Analysis study — conducted in the territory with the study team to arrive next month.
FEMA Region IX Administrator, Robert Fenton explained the importance of the study, which is to better prepare American Samoa for untimely disasters by reviewing the Supply Chain process.
The Supply Chain study will focus on the territory’s capabilities to include the private sector, the overall port systems, researching what the supply chain looks like, how resilient it is, and what are the gaps and vulnerabilities in the process, according to the news release.
The study will include collecting and analyzing data on the supply chains for FEMA’s Regions 9 & 10 with assessments of consumer supply chain performance and flows of life-sustaining commodities including food/groceries, potable water, fuel, and general freight, as well as critical enablers of these commodities such as transportation infrastructure, seaports, airports, fuel, electrical power grid, and pipelines.
According to the news release, workforce development to ensure timely response and recovery efforts in rebuilding the Territory was also discussed during the meeting.
As part of this project, supply chain risk and vulnerability analysis information will be collected for Hawaii, Alaska, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
Each independent analysis will be tailored to the State or territory and a report will be available in writing at the Pacific Partnership Meeting set for July in Hawaii.
Representing ASG at the meeting were Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum (ODAPM) director Lisa Tuato’o; Public Works director Faleosina Voigt; and the Governor’s senior executive assistant, Aoelua Solomona.
At the meeting, Tuao’o extended appreciation to Fenton for hearing and responding to the territory’s unique circumstances given American Samoa is geographically separated from the U.S mainland and all associated challenges in light of it being a containerized community with everything being imported to the islands.
As a Territory with populations dispersed in the outer islands, transportation of commodities, materials and supplies are challenging, she said.
“We need to look at it with a whole-community approach not limited to the private sector but also faith-based organizations, to get involved in American Samoa’s state of preparedness,” she said.
Tuato’o shared with meeting participants discussion with the U.S Interior Department regarding the federal “Buy American Act” to allow American Samoa to buy from the neighboring countries such New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji, etc. as equipment, materials and supplies are more costly to acquire and ship from the U.S mainland to the territory.
According to the Governor’s Office, American Samoa will work with the Supply Chain Analysis Network team to collect the data and information they need to complete the study and to provide results that will better prepare American Samoa for disasters.