16 Mar 2011

American Samoa official says siren warning system still in testing phase

11:17 am on 16 March 2011

American Samoa's Homeland Security Department director says the territory's outdoor siren warning system is not fully operational and it is still in the testing phase

Mike Sala says officials of American Signal Corporation - the project contractor - are returning soon to the Territory to carry out more installations to the system.

His comments came amid criticism from Pago Pago lawmaker Va'amua Sesepasara that the warning system malfunctioned during last week's tsunami warning following the Japan quake.

Crew had to manually activate the siren warning system in Pago Pago village about 10 minutes after the first wave was to hit the territory.

But Mr Sala says the system is not fully implemented or operational and the government is still in the testing phase for the sirens already installed.

He says there were some technical issues during the tsunami warning which mean his staff worked on activating the sirens manually.