19 Apr 2020

Trump declares Covid-19 disaster for American Samoa

3:04 pm on 19 April 2020

The US President Donald Trump has declared a major disaster exists in American Samoa and ordered federal assistance to help efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 18: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on April 18, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Photo: AFP

Federal funding was available to American Samoa and certain private non-profit organisations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance.

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has named its Regional 9 administrator, Robert Fenton Junior as the Coordinating Officer for any Federal recovery operations in American Samoa.

Federal funding was available to territorial and local governments and certain non-profits on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures.

The assistance comes at a federal cost share of 75 percent.

Mr Trump's declaration followed a request on 13 April from the territory's governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga.

Lolo Matalasi Moliga at his State of the Territory address.

Lolo Matalasi Moliga at his State of the Territory address. Photo: RNZI / Monica Miller

The territorial government Coronavirus Tasforce Chair, Iulogologo Joseph Pereira, said Lolo was hesitant to declare a Major Disaster as American Samoa did not have a confirmed case.

However, Iulogologo said the Governor felt that given American Samoa's economic downturn, and all of the money the local government had spent on facilities to build a coronavirus deterrent infrastructure system, the territory needed access to federal public assistance.

American Samoa is the only US jurisdiction, state or territory, without a confirmed Covid-19 case.