26 Nov 2009

American Samoa's Governor calls on locals to use aid wisely

12:18 pm on 26 November 2009

American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono has called on people receiving disaster aid to use it wisely.

The Governor says he's been told by the Federal Emergency Management Agency of heated arguments with residents over permanent home replacements, as they feel they are not getting the amount to replace everything they lost.

He says while it may be tempting to accept cash rather than have FEMA build a home, he urges people to carefully consider their options.

He says FEMA cash payments to replace homes are capped at 30,000 US dollars.

However, if the homeowner opts to have FEMA build a new house, the agency will spend whatever amount it takes to complete a new home, and this could be up to 60,000 dollars or more.

The Governor says FEMA assistance is not like an insurance payout where the value of what was destroyed will be covered but is to get a household back on its feet and this takes account of the number of people living in the household.