29 May 2003

American Samoa hoping President will declare it a disaster area

5:30 pm on 29 May 2003

American Samoa's Governor is hoping a report by the United States Federal Emergency Managment Agency on damage caused by last week's floods in the Territory will persuade President Bush to declare it a disaster area.

Governor Togiola Tulafono had asked President Bush to declare American Samoa a major disaster area after initial assessments by territorial agencies estimated damage of more than 50 million US dollars.

FEMA officials have since returned to mainland USA and Governor Togiola says the damage must be judged in terms of its impact on the entire Territory, not just those localities that suffered the worst effects of the rain.

He says President Bush will make a declaration if a sufficient area of the entire territory is affected.

Meanwhile officials from the Federal Highway Administration are in the Territory to assess the damage to main transport routes.