1 Aug 2003

American Samoans asked to withdraw dishonest flood damage assistance claims

2:01 pm on 1 August 2003

American Samoa's Lt Governor Aitofele Sunia says locals who may have filed false claims with the Federal Emergency Management Agency still have time to withdraw them and avoid prosecution.

The Lt Governor says the federal agency has been surprised that whereas initial surveys showed about 600 families suffered losses or damages from the May floods and mudslides, the number of applications for assistance is nearly six thousand.

He said the appearances of dishonesty in filing claims gives the territory a bad reputation and he is worried that this may affect how the US government responds to future requests for disaster assistance.

The Lt Governor has urged those who were not honest in their claims to rectifiy the situation by withdrawing their applications, and also asks applicants not to be rude to the FEMA when their applications are declined.