WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is continuing the coordination of federal response efforts to the U.S. Territory of the American Samoa following Tuesday's Pacific Ocean earthquake, tsunami, and flooding affecting the territory.
On Tuesday, the president declared a major disaster for American Samoa and ordered federal aid to supplement the territorial and local recovery efforts. The president's action makes federal funding available to individuals and communities impacted by the disaster.
Federal assistance provides immediate resources to address response, including urgent life sustaining activities and public health and safety measures. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Federal funding is also available to eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance. Federal funding also is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for American Samoa.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people that have been impacted by this event, and we will continue working as a team with our territorial and federal partners to respond to the disaster caused by Tuesday's tsunami in the Pacific Ocean." said FEMA's Administrator Craig Fugate. "Our first team was on the ground by Wednesday, and today, with the support of our federal partners, we continue to respond to the needs of the survivors in the impacted communities."
The FEMA National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) and the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) in Region IX have been operating around the clock since Tuesday. FEMA deployed an Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) as well as a Planning and Response Team (PRT) to American Samoa to provide direct support and response. Kenneth R. Tingman, the Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) for federal response and recovery operations is touring the affected area with the governor of American Samoa.
FEMA continues to facilitate the flow of resources to support the immediate needs of survivors including meals, water and blankets.
FEMA's National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System (NEFRLS) and The American Red Cross Safe and Well Program have been activated to reunite families that have become separated as a result of this disaster. Individuals and families can register with NEFRLS online at www.fema.gov or call 1-800-588-9822. Families can also register on the Red Cross Safe and Well Website at www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to register your loved ones.
Other Federal Agencies and non-governmental organizations are providing the following assistance efforts to the impacted region:
U.S. Coast Guard: Assisting with flights to deploy teams to the American Samoa and disaster relief supplies; conducting shoreline cleanup and assessments; deployed team to inspect vessels and regulated facilities; developed a plan to re-float two large fishing vessels;
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Deploying Disaster Medical Assistance Teams to provide medical support to survivors; a public health official has been deployed along with other support staff including public health experts; providing medical and pharmaceutical equipment and supplies;
U.S. Department of the Interior: Deploying National Park Service (NPS) specialists to assess damage to NPS facilities...