PAGO PAGO, American Samoa -- Now that a presidential disaster declaration for individual assistance has been issued for American Samoa, a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will open Thursday, January 22 at 8:00 am. The DRC will be located at the Governor Rex Lee Auditorium. Registrations will be taken by village according to the severity of the damages. Individuals will be asked to make an appointment to register when their village is scheduled. Registrations will only be accepted when the registrant’s particular area or village is scheduled. Residents of the village of Pago Pago can come in for appointments beginning at 8:00 am Wednesday, January 21. The schedule for other villages will be announced later in the newspapers and on radio and television.
The DRC will be staffed with territory and federal officials who will be available to provide information and registration assistance to residents who may need help in recovering from damages resulting from Cyclone Heta that struck the island on January 2 through January 6.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will also have representatives in the center to answer any questions and to provide one-on-one assistance in preparing applications for low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and business owners. An SBA loan is the primary source of funds for the long-term repair or rebuilding for disaster damage to private property owned by businesses and individuals.
Federal assistance will be available only for those who suffered damage from the Cyclone Heta. Individuals who are not U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or qualified aliens are not eligible for federal grants. If you are NOT one of these categories, but your child is, please bring proof of custodial relationship. Example: custodial papers or income tax return confirming the custodial relationship you have with the child you are applying on behalf of. A child that qualifies under the law, but does not reside with you at the disaster dwelling will not be qualified for disaster assistance.
One person, who must be living in the dwelling, only can apply on behalf of everyone living in the dwelling. The representative for each household must bring a valid government picture I.D, such as a driver’s license, passport or medical card, an electric/utility bill and proof of the total annual income of the entire household, as evidenced by pay slips and a tax return. The family representative will be asked to identify their damaged dwelling on a map.
In order to expedite much needed assistance to those in need, individuals who did not sustain damages as a result of Cyclone Heta or do not qualify for assistance must not to attempt to register.
The center will be open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.