23 May 2003

Flood damage in American Samoa estimated at $50m

10:48 am on 23 May 2003

Assessment of the damage caused by this week's floods in American Samoa is still to be completed but officials say it may be in the range of 50 million US dollars.

The homeland security director, Leiataua Birdsall Alailima, says the figure would cover damage to facilities such as roads, homes, stream bed infrastructure, water systems, power and phone lines.

The territorial government's insurance company is to send a representative to inspect the damage to the buildings of the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority, the American Samoa Community College and the LBJ hospital.

Some of the hospital's most expensive equipment was damaged in the floods.

The rain and mudslides claimed four lives and left several other people severely injured.

One of them, a cannery supervisor, may yet be flown to Hawaii for further treatment.

The Bank of Hawaii has donated 10 thousand US dollars to the American Samoa chapter of the Red Cross to support flood relief efforts.

The bank's senior vice president based in Pago Pago, David Buehler, expressed sympathy to the families who have suffered as a result of flooding and landslides.

The donation will be used to provide food, clothing and shelter as well as help feed the many rescue workers involved in relief efforts.