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Spike in building permits issued in American Samoa after Gita

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In American Samoa, about 500 land use permits have been issued for new construction and repairs to homes destroyed or damaged during Gita in February.

Tino Ma'o of the Project Notification and Review System Board, said the Gita rebuilding has led to improvements in home construction for some of the families affected by the storm.

Mr Ma'o said during site inspections they came across homes where the standard of construction was poor, and in some cases the houses were just slightly better than shacks.

Homeowners or renters receiving federal government cheques have to get land use and building permits to construct or repair homes.

They also need to provide a site plan.

In these cases all permit and building fees were waived.

Mr Ma'o believes that this has resulted in improved housing construction or repairs.