16 Jul 2003

Federal agency in American Samoa annoyed by false claims for help

4:22 pm on 16 July 2003

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has again told American Samoans only qualified residents who suffered damage in the May floods on the main island of Tutuila can claim assistance.

FEMA's public information officer, John Treanor, says it has come to light that some visitors from neighbouring islands are trying to take advantage of the federal assistance programme.

"One of the reasons that we really wanted to discourage people from coming in who don't qualify is it slows the procedure down, and slows the process of those who really need the cheques, of getting those cheques sooner, any attempt to get assistance by giving false information is subject to investigation by the FEMA Inspector General."

John Treanor.

FEMA has now registered close to two thousand applications for financial assistance, and four point three million US dollars.

Mr Treanor says the cheques should go only to repair homes and replace belongings damaged in the disaster.

FEMA will conduct spot checks to ensure the money is spent for the purpose it is given.