Amata’s Letter to President Trump Outlines Key Federal Aid Requests for American Samoa
News Release from Office of Congresswoman Aumua Amata (R-AS) March 1, 2018
Washington, D.C. – Thursday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata sent a letter to President Donald Trump informing the administration of several key ways in which the federal government could take the next steps to help American Samoa following the severe damages of Cyclone Gita, and in support of Governor Lolo’s request for a major disaster declaration by the President.
“We appreciate President Trump’s rapid response with the emergency disaster declaration to set initial assistance in motion,” said Aumua Amata. “Now, we’re moving on to the next important steps the federal government can take in support of Governor Lolo’s requests, and the territory’s necessary procedural steps to obtain this much-needed assistance. We’re getting the word out every day in Washington that American Samoa needs significant help, and doesn’t have the economic power to overcome these obstacles without sustained assistance.”
Specifically, the letter to the President addresses several main components: 1) Declaring a Major Disaster to allow the next phase of significant federal assistance, 2) action on a fishing expansion that will benefit American Samoa’s economic recovery both immediately and long term, 3) waiving the FEMA match so that the territory no longer needs to come up with 25 percent matching funds, 4) waiving Medicaid match requirements to allow more funds to flow promptly to essential needs and 5) farm and small business loan assistance from the Small Business Administration and Department of Agriculture.
“These are important steps to get funding where it’s needed most,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “I’m taking every opportunity to describe the full magnitude of Cyclone Gita’s impact to policy makers throughout Washington, D.C., and urging these multiple remedies that can help our people in this time of need.”
PDF: Request Letter
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President Donald J. Trump Approves American Samoa Disaster Declaration
News Release from The White House, March 2, 2018
Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the territory of American Samoa and ordered Federal assistance to supplement recovery efforts in the territory due to Tropical Storm Gita from February 7 to February 12, 2018.
The President’s action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the territory of American Samoa.
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 also is available to the territory and to certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Tropical Storm Gita in the territory of American Samoa.
Furthermore, Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures throughout the territory.
Brock Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Benigno Bern Ruiz as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.
Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the territory and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance by registering at the Disaster Recovery Center that will open in the coming days. Territorial authorities are planning an orderly process to assist all survivors and will provide details through community and media channels.