21 Feb 2005

Aid arrives in American Samoa for cyclone victims

11:33 am on 21 February 2005

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is hoping to start distributing emergency supplies to victims of Cyclone Olaf this week, mainly in the Manu'a islands.

FEMA's public relation officer, John Treanor who arrived in Pago Pago over the weekend said, the initial phase of FEMA assistance is emergency supplies, until President Bush signs off on a full disaster declaration paving the way for other federal assistance.

Our correspondent in Pago Pago, Monica Miller, says the worst-hit area was the village of Fititua on the island of Tau

"In that village, there's about only five homes out of nearly 100 that were there before the hurricane that still have their roofs. And, so if you lost your roof, you can imagine with the rain that the total house is shot. So, those people will have to build new homes. Also, the school in the village of Faleasao suffered damage and it's going to take several weeks before it is re-opened because the seas washed into the classrooms. The power plant there also suffered damage. Some of the generators were wet from the wave action but the American Samoan Power Authority had been able to get that back running. But, power lines are still down and the roads on Tau island are very badly damaged."

Monica Miller reporting from Pago Pago.

The territory's governor, Togiola Tulafono has asked residents to attend church services today to give thanks that the damage was much less than it could have been.