WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Bush has ordered the release of federal disaster funds for American Samoa to supplement emergency response efforts in the area struck by heavy rains and high winds and surf spawned by Tropical Cyclone Olaf.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the President authorized the assistance under a major disaster declaration issued following a review of FEMA's analysis of the territory?s expedited request for federal aid.
"The action taken by the President today addresses the immediate emergency priorities while we continue the process for assessing additional assistance requirements," Brown said.
Under the declaration, federal funds will be provided for the territory and affected local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to pay 75 percent of the eligible costs for debris removal and emergency services related to the storm that began on February 15. The funding also covers the cost of requested emergency work undertaken by the federal government.
In addition, Brown said federal funds will be available to the territory on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that additional forms of assistance may be designated later after conditions allow damage surveys to be completed.
Alexander S. Wells of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations in the affected area.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.