PAGO PAGO, American Samoa -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Helpline will be available Monday, March 14 for those who have registered for disaster assistance because of damages from Cyclone Olaf and need information on the status of their applications for aid. The number will be 699-3362 and will be available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The first step for the residents of the Manua Islands who suffered damages as a result of Cyclone Olaf is to file an insurance claim if you have insurance coverage. The next step is to come into the Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) and fill out an application. FEMA, SBA and Territory employees will be there to assist in filling out the application. Within three to seven days an inspector should visit the property to confirm the damage. There is no need to call the Helpline until a week has passed and you have not heard from an inspector. The applicant will be notified by mail within a few weeks of their determination. Those who qualify will need to fill out an SBA application for a low-interest loan in order to initiate the assistance process. If the applicant does not qualify for an SBA loan, they will then be referred to the FEMA grant program.
Low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and business owners will be available for qualified applicants from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). 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. Also, there will be rental assistance for persons whose homes were damaged or destroyed and grants for emergency repairs to damaged homes and essential personal property.
Two Disaster Assistance Centers (DRCs) will be in Ta’u on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and in Ofu and Olosega on Tuesday and Thursday until further notice. The Centers will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The DRCs will be staffed with territory and federal officials who will be available to provide information and registration assistance to residents.
The DRCs on Ta’u will be at the Social Service Building near the airport in the village of Fiti’uta and at the Pola Guest House in the village of Ta’u. The DRCs for the islands of Ofu and Olosega will be located at the Siva Guest House in the village of Ofu and the Malemo Guest House in the village of Olosega.
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.