4 Sep 2014

American Samoa needs disaster zone ruling after floods

8:15 pm on 4 September 2014

American Samoa's governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has requested that President Barack Obama declare the territory a major disaster area following July's heavy rain which led to flooding and landslides.

Lolo says recovery cannot be handled by the territorial government alone and federal assistance is necessary.

The request follows a visit by a US Federal Emergency Management Agency official last month to assess damage.

Lolo says the initial assessment estimates damages in excess of five million US dollars to public property.

A mudslide in Gataivai, American Samoa

A mudslide in Gataivai, American Samoa Photo: RNZI / Monica Miller

He says the natural disaster produced serious and extensive damage to both public and private property, causing one fatality and leaving many residents homeless and requiring evacuation to temporary shelters.

The presidential declaration is the first step towards acquiring federal help, but there is no word yet as to when the United States will reply to Lolo's request.