23 Feb 2018

American Samoa turns down FEMA assistance

10:12 am on 23 February 2018

The Governor of American Samoa says he has turned down some of the relief assistance offered by the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA in response to the destruction caused by Cyclone Gita.

Lolo Matalasi Moliga said this includes plans to bring in generators which would have been an expensive exercise for the territory which is required to pay 25 percent of the costs of the Federal emergency response.

Lolo says he would rather the money go directly to victims of the cyclone.

According to the governor FEMA was also planning to bring in external contractors to assist with the recovery effort.

Lolo said he disagrees with this and has asked federal officials to involve local businesses and personnel in their Cyclone Gita operations.

He said a preliminary estimate of the damages caused by cyclone Gita to public infrastructure is $US10 million.

The governor said he would consider a request to declare American Samoa a disaster area once assessment reports have been completed.

Damaged building in eastern Tutuila

Damaged building in eastern Tutuila Photo: RNZI/Monica Miller