18 Feb 2004

FEMA says American Samoa Cyclone Heta assistance cheats delay the process

7:03 pm on 18 February 2004

American Samoans are being warned not to try to cheat when they apply for assistance to repair or rebuild their homes in the wake of Cyclone Heta in January.

The US federal emergency management agency, FEMA, has approved 11-and-a-half-million-US-dollars in assistance, and five-and-a-half-thousand homeowners, so far, have registered as needing that assistance.

FEMA has completed just over 4-thousand house inspections.

FEMA's public information officer, John Treanor, says people who make false claims will be investigated by FEMA's inspector-general and possibly the FBI, and then be prosecuted.

He also says cheats slow down the process of getting money to people who really need it.


What happens is, that all of these claims and registrations that aren't justified, tie up the system and they delay getting much-needed assistance to those who genuinely need the help and who qualify for it. 13

FEMA's public information officer, John Treanor.