PAGO PAGO, American Samoa -- All eligible residents of Tutuila and the Manu’a Islands, who suffered damages as a result of Cyclone Heta and have not registered for disaster assistance, will be able to come into the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) on Saturday, February 28 after 9:00 am to make an appointment to register beginning Monday, March 1. The deadline to register is March 20.
The center, located at the Governor Rex Lee Auditorium, is provided by the American Samoa Government (ASG) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The DRC is staffed with territorial and federal officials who are available to provide information and registration assistance to residents who may need help in recovering from their damages.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also has 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.
Residents of the Manu’a Islands only, who are unable to come to the DRC, can register by calling the FEMA Helpline at 633-3036.
FEMA assistance will only cover essential repairs and some lost items, and is only available for those who suffered damage from Cyclone Heta. Individuals who are not U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or qualified aliens are not eligible for federal grants.
Only one person can register on behalf of everyone living in a dwelling, which must be his or her primary residence. An applicant’s primary residence is the home where the applicant lives all of the time, is listed as the address on their tax return and uses it as a voter registration address.
The representative for each household is asked to bring valid picture I.D, such as a drivers license or medical card, a social security number, 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. It is essential that victims bring these documents and verify on their registration that all information, including spelling, is correct.
The center is open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm and no cameras are allowed. The registration will take approximately 45 minutes.
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 initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U. S Fire Administration.