Debris that blocked the dry wash runoff in the Pago Pago area. Photo by Evelyn Stevens of TEMCO.
Langkilde business. One side is a tire auto shop; the other sells food supplies. The location across the street from the outdoor market in downtown Pago, across street. Photo by Evelyn Stevens of TEMCO.
Washington, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Bush has declared a major disaster for American Samoa, opening the way for the use of federal disaster funds to help families and communities on the island of Tutuila recover from the effects of flooding rains that struck the area last month.
Michael D. Brown, FEMA director and under secretary for the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, said the President took the action today following a review of FEMA's analysis of the terrority's request for federal aid. The declaration covers damage to private and public property from heavy rains, flooding, and mud and landslides that occurred May 19-21.
After the declaration, Brown designated the island of Tutuila eligible for federal aid to stricken residents that can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
In addition, Brown said federal funds will be provided for the territory and affected local governments on the island of Tutuila to pay 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and the restoration of damaged public facilities.
Under the declaration, cost-shared funding also will be available to the territorial government for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks, Brown said. He indicated that additional areas may be designated for aid later if requested by the territory and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
William Lokey of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations. Lokey said that procedures for requesting assistance in the designated area will be announced shortly by federal and terrority recovery officials.