12 May 2011

American Samoa tsunami victims asked to repay grants

1:35 pm on 12 May 2011

About 30 American Samoan families who received grants from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency following the 2009 tsunami are being asked to pay the money back.

FEMA is in the process of sending out letters to 33 applicants who received disaster assistance - the amount they're attempting to recoup is just over 160,000 US dollars.

A FEMA spokesperson says they have identified grants that may have been improperly distributed or money allocated as a result of human error.

Our correspondent Fili Sagapolutele expects the people affected will be very upset.

"They've gone through this major disaster in the history of American Samoa and then have to try to recover and rebuild themselves back and then being told again that oops there's an error there and they need to repay it back and yeah people might have spend most of the money if not all of that money."

Fili Sagapolutele

FEMA says people will be able to challenge the debt, seek a hardship waiver, or request a payment plan.