PAGO PAGO, American Samoa – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides this final update of federal disaster recovery assistance and services as a result of Cyclone Heta.
- The Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at the Gov. Rex Lee Auditorium will close today, March 26, at 5:00 pm. In its place, a new FEMA-SBA Service Center will open this coming Monday, March 29, at Suite 201, Pago Plaza in Pago Pago, for the limited purpose of helping applicants who have already registered. Open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, the service center will be in operation through April 23, 2004.
- If you have already registered with FEMA but have questions about your application, please call the local FEMA Helpline at 633-3036, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
- Registrations for disaster assistance are no longer being accepted. The deadline to register was March 20. Nearly 9,300 American Samoa residents and business owners registered with FEMA to apply for aid.
- FEMA has issued approximately $11.5 million in temporary disaster housing grants to people whose homes have been severely damaged and to those repairing their primary residences to make them safe, sanitary and functional. The agency has provided more than $13.8 million for other serious needs directly related to Heta.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved approximately $5.6 million in low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and business owners. The loans cover costs for the long-term repair or rebuilding of cyclone-damaged private property. Registered applicants who have already been issued an SBA loan application have until April 1 to submit their application to SBA.
- Funding of approximately $1.2 million under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program has been approved for the American Samoa Government (ASG). The money is reimbursement for 75% of the costs incurred by the territorial government due to Heta. The final “federal share” is expected to reach several million dollars more, once all eligible projects that ASG has submitted for funding have been approved.
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.