Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has offered her condolences to the people of American Samoa.
In a statement released today, Speaker Pelosi stated, “The thoughts of the entire Congress are with the people of American Samoa as they grapple with the terrible loss of life as a result of today’s tsunami. As the island works to rebuild, all levels of the government, including Congress, will move quickly to address the needs of American Samoa and the Americans who live there.”
President Obama declared a major DISASTER declaration for the Territory of American Samoa, triggering the release of Federal funds to help individuals and communities respond to the Earthquake, Tsunami and Flooding that occurred beginning September 29th and continuing. FEMA is coordinating relief efforts, and the National Park Service and the Hawaii Air National Guard also have emergency responders en route to the Territory.
Faleomavaega is en route to Hawaii where he will board a military aircraft being provided by the Hawaii Air National Guard which will carry personnel support and emergency supplies to the areas devastated by the tsunami waves after the 8.3 earthquake and a 5.6 aftershock hit the middle of the Pacific, causing irreparable damage in American Samoa. The flight is scheduled to depart Hawaii September 30 as soon as possible.
“The Hawaii Air National Guard will support the rescue and assessment teams that will be on the ground to assist the American Samoa Government,” Faleomavaega said. “Efforts are also underway to get other military flights into the Territory late tonight. Planes will be loaded with relief supplies for purposes of providing our people with food, water, and shelter. Federal and military personnel will assist with search and rescue efforts and will help rebuild roads that have been flooded.”
“Given early reports, it is expected that there will be a significant number of casualties and fatalities and this is why I want to thank all those whose thoughts and prayers are with the people of American Samoa during this tragic time. We mourn with those who have lost loved ones, but our faith remains steady through the storm for we know that God has made it possible for families to be together forever.”
“I especially thank Major General Robert Lee, the Adjutant General for the State of Hawaii, who mobilized the Hawaii Air National Guard in record time for the benefit of our people. I also thank John Jarvis, Director of the National Parks, who has kept my office informed of developments on the ground, and who has a crew en route to the Territory.”
“I also thank FEMA, NOAA, President Obama and Speaker Pelosi for their unequivocal support, and Members of Congress, including Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo of Guam and Congressman Gregory Sablan of CNMI for standing with us in our time of need.”
“I also thank Governor Togiola for the work he is doing to bring aid and relief to American Samoa. Our people can be assured that we will work together to meet this challenge and our offices are ready to assist our people every step of the way.”
“We will get through this. And, as we begin the process of rebuilding, I want to also thank NBC Nightly News, ABC News, Good Morning America, CNN, Fox, the AP wire, the BBC, and other media outlets who have carried our story and drawn attention to American Samoa’s need for support. Again, we appreciate the thoughts and prayers of our nation as our hearts go out to the families we have lost today. May God be with them and all of us, until we meet again,” Faleomavaega concluded.