PAGO PAGO, American Samoa – The scheduled opening of the FEMA/Territory Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) Tuesday on the islands of Ofu and Olosega had to be postponed due to weather conditions. The new openings, weather permitting, will be Thursday, March 17 for the center at the Siva Guest House in the village of Ofu. The projected hours are 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The center at the Malemo Guest House in the village of Olosega will open Friday, March 18 with projected hours of 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Starting Tuesday, March 22, pending favorable weather conditions, the original schedule of Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on both islands will be in effect.
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. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Agency (SBA) and American Samoa Government (ASG) employees will be there to assist in filling out the application. Those who are referred to the SBA will need to fill out an 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. Within three to seven days an inspector should visit the property to confirm the damage. There is no need to call the Helpline (699-3362) 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.
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.
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.