PAGO PAGO, American Samoa -- Disaster Assistance for the Manuaa Islands in American Samoa has been expanded to include aid for individuals and for the local government affected by Cyclone Olaf, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today.
Michael D. Brown, FEMA Director and Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response at the Department of Homeland Security said the additional assistance was approved following a review of damage data gathered by federal and state disaster recovery officials. Under the original declaration issued by President Bush on February 18, 2005, the territory was designated for assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures under the Public Assistance program and for Hazard Mitigation in designated areas.
"Our continuing commitment is not only to help meet the recovery needs of devastated families and businesses," Brown said, "but to ensure that vital community services they also depend on are restored as quickly and efficiently as possible."
Under the expanded assistance declaration individual assistance, including rental assistance and housing repairs and replacement will be available for those in the Manu'a Islands who suffered damage from the Cyclone Olaf. Low interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be available as well as FEMA grants. Individuals who are not U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or qualified aliens are not eligible for federal grants.
Affected governments on the Manu'a Islands in American Samoa are also eligible to apply for 75 percent of the approved cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities. Procedures for requesting the assistance will be explained at an applicant's briefing for local officials at a location and time to be announced shortly by state and federal disaster officials.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and effectively manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, 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.