PAGO PAGO, American Samoa -- The Federal Emergency Disaster Agency (FEMA) Disaster Information Helpline is available for those who have registered for disaster assistance for damages from Cyclone Heta and need information on the status of their applications for aid.
Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Government of American Samoa are encouraging only those individuals who have already registered at the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) and have questions about their registration to call the Helpline. The number is 633-3036 and is in operation Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm.
After you register, allow 5-7 days for the inspector to contact you. Do not call the helpline asking about the inspection until at least 7 days after your registration.
“We are asking people to call only about your registration.” Said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Thomas Costello. “You can monitor the news media for general information.”
Workers at the Helpline can only discuss a case with the applicant or co-applicant. You should only file an appeal if you can demonstrate that you have a legitimate expense or damages that were not met with the original award.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is encouraging people to return to the DRC if they have questions about their application. There is also a helpline for those who have already applied for a loan and have processing questions. The SBA Helpline is: 699-1002.
“We want to make sure that everyone is taken care of as soon as possible,” said Lieutenant Governor Aitofele Sunia. “Keeping the Helpline available for those in need will assist in the process.”
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the Department of Homeland Security. FEMA’ 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 initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.