21 Feb 2005

U.S. Coastguard Cutter diverted to help with relief effort in American Samoa's Manu'a islands

2:01 pm on 21 February 2005

A U.S. Coastguard cutter has been diverted to help in the relief effort for the battered Manu'a islands in American Samoa, hit by cyclone Olaf.

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is expecting to be able to ship relief supplies to the Manu'as by tomorrow after Olaf left Ta'u, the biggest island in the group, with very few buildings standing.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says only five houses out of one hundred in the village of Fitiuta, on Ta'u were left with their roofs in the wake of the cyclone while landslides and high waves badly damaged the roads.

Ms Miller says FEMA is co-ordinating the emergency effort.

"They're sending in tarps, generators, water, all sorts of things. A Coastguard cutter, one of the biggest, has been diverted to help with the relief supplies because the harbours in Manu'a have suffered some damage, it's very unsafe for the vessels that usually ply the waters between the main island of Tutuila and Manu'a to go into the harbours there."

Monica Miller.