25 Mar 2009

Territory wide alert system called for in American Samoa

3:53 pm on 25 March 2009

A lawmaker in American Samoa, Maugaoalii Anoai, is recommending a Territory-wide alert warning system be installed to better inform the public in the event of disaster.

A tsunami warning last week sent a wave of panic across the Territory, canceling public schools, closing down some businesses and confusing many students who were let out as school was set to begin.

It also sparked major concerns over emergency communications and preparedness in the territory.

Maugaoalii Anoai says American Samoa will have to step up its efforts for more capacity building and disaster prevention through education to achieve sufficient community awareness.

He says he will raise these recommendations during tomorrow's House committee hearing on tsunami preparedness following complaints about last week's tsunami warning.

Mr Anoai says he will further recommend that American Samoa obtain the basic data and training that will allow the territory to better understand and make informed decisions on how to prioritize local conditions.

He says an informed and educated community on the reality of a tsunami and the effects of a major catastrophe will ultimately save thousands of lives.