1 Sep 2020

American Samoa Governor signals possible repatriation

3:42 pm on 1 September 2020

The American Samoan Governor has asked officials to work on a repatriation plan to get residents home by next week.

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Photo: RNZI / Monica Miller

Lolo Matalasi Moliga has set next Thursday as a date when a flight could hypothetically bring in 300 passengers.

The request comes after criticism from local lawmaker, Vesi Talalelei Fautanu Junior, that the government had no plan to assist stranded citizens.

Vesi, who is chair of the House Health Committee, wrote to Lolo calling for a repatriation flight for residents stranded in Hawai'i and the US mainland.

A local group, Tagata Tu Faatasi Alliance, also circulated a petition asking local leaders to reconsider and allow a couple of flights.

Lolo said the territory could not continue on its current path as Covid-19 rates continued to climb in Hawai'i and the US mainland.

The governor gave medical officials this week to come up with recommendations on whether or not a repatriation flight should be allowed and how such a move could be implemented.

It was the first time since the suspension of flights in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic that the governor mentioned the possibility of a repatriation flight.

Representative, Vesi Talalelei Fautanu Junior

Representative, Vesi Talalelei Fautanu Junior Photo: Manu'atele Community