American Samoa Receives $100 Million for Tsunami Relief and Improvements

American Samoa Receives $100 Million for Tsunami Relief and Improvements

American Samoa Receives $100 Million for Tsunami Relief and Improvements

On September 27, 2012, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that it is devoting almost $100 million to American Samoa for post-tsunami improvements and the implementation of emergency systems.  The emergency management systems include a siren warning system, an emergency call center, and a tsunami hazard plan.  All of the implementations have helped American Samoa receive the status of TsunamiReady. 

FEMA admits that gaining TsunamiReady status is no easy feat.  In order to reach such a status, the area needs to have an operations center for 24 hour warnings and emergency operations.  Additionally, the community needs to “develop multiple ways to receive tsunami warnings and alert the public, develop a formal tsunami hazard plan, conduct emergency exercises and promote public readiness through community education.”

FEMA states that the islands of Tutuila, Aunuu, Ofu, Olosega, Tau, and all of the islands making up the National Park of American Samoa have received the TsunamiReady status. 

The islands that make up American Samoa lie just 120 miles from the Tonga Trench which is one of the active subduction zones in the entire world.  On September 29, 2009, the islands suffered a large amount of fatalities and destruction after a South Pacific Tsunami formed after earthquakes occurred in the trench. 

Regional Administrator Nancy Ward stated, “This subduction zone will continue to produce earthquakes and potentially damaging tsunamis.  American Samoa Government officials have truly made preparedness one of their most important priorities.  Their training and outreach programs have achieved remarkable results that will help save future lives.”

About $37 million was awarded by FEMA for housing assistance and other personal needs.  Over $54 million was awarded to the government for rebuilding infrastructure and to help during future disasters.  Some of the funds were also used to reimburse the government for costs during the initial response. 

Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency




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