18 Mar 2005

FEMA centres in Manua to open today, but staff choose to stay in Tutuila

2:22 pm on 18 March 2005

The first Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Recovery Centre on Manu'a in American Samoa is scheduled to open today.

The office in Ofu will be opened while the recovery centre in Olosega will open tomorrow,, pending favourable weather conditions.

FEMA staff will have to process financial claims from Manu'a Islanders who suffered damage as a result of Cyclone Olaf.

However, FEMA staff will stay on the mainland of Tutuila, and be flown in everyday to the islands to work at the centres.

Our correspondent Monica Miller says this has raised concerns among locals.

"People were concerned that if the situation arises that weather is bad, and the flights can't come in, it will delay the process. FEMA is saying they need to be here [in Tutuila] because they need to do all the computer work and there's not enough accommodation on Manu'a to house them."

Monica Miller.