Congressman Faleomavaega, who is expected to land in American Samoa this evening via military air, announced today that he is expressing his thanks to the President and First Lady, and many others for their overwhelming expressions of support for the people of American Samoa. President Obama issued the following statement today:
“Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the earthquake and tsunami in American Samoa and the region. I am closely monitoring these tragic events, and have declared a major disaster for American Samoa, which will provide the tools necessary for a full, swift and aggressive response. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is in close and constant contact with emergency responders, and the U.S. Coast Guard is fully supporting the deployment of resources to those areas in need of immediate assistance. We also stand ready to help our friends in Samoa and the region. Going forward, we will continue to provide the resources necessary to respond to this catastrophe, and we will keep those who have lost so much in our thoughts and prayers."
President Obama has also sent word that he is trying to call Congressman Faleomavaega to offer personal assurances to the people of American Samoa that he and the First Lady stand with them in their time of need.
“I am deeply touched by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s support of our Samoan people as we struggle to deal with the terrible loss of life, and begin the long and difficult process of rebuilding,” Faleomavaega said. “The President even addressed the situation in American Samoa at the top of his remarks this morning on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at the National Institutes of Health.”
“Before I begin my remarks about this extraordinary institution I want to say a word about the tragic events that took place yesterday in America Samoa. My deepest sympathies are with the families who've lost loved ones and the many people whose lives have been affected by the earthquake and the tsunami. To aid in the response I declared this a major disaster to speed the deployment of resources. And FEMA -- the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- is working closely with emergency responders on the ground, and the Coast Guard is helping to provide immediate help to those in need. We also stand ready to help our friends in neighboring Samoa and throughout the region, and we'll continue to monitor the situation closely as we keep the many people who've been touched by this tragedy in our thoughts and in our prayers.”
“Support is also pouring in from Members of the House and Senate,” Faleomavaega said.
“Chairman Howard L. Berman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued the following statement:”
“I want to express my deepest condolences to the people of American Samoa and Samoa who have suffered great losses from the tsunami that swept the islands. The losses are staggering. The sympathy of the Foreign Affairs Committee is with our good friend and the chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, Eni Faleomavaega, the delegate from American Samoa. We commend him for his efforts and extend our fullest support during this trying time.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee; Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Chairman Howard Berman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman Nick Rahall of the House Resources Committee, Chairwoman Madeleine Bordallo of the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs; Congressman Gregory Sablan, Congresswoman Donna Christensen, Congressman Henry Brown, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Congressman Mike Honda, Congressman Jeff Flake, Congressman Buck McKeon, Congressman Anh Joseph Cao, Congressman Mike Quigley, Congressman Rick Larsen, Congresswoman Jackie Speier who represents the San Francisco Bay area, and many others also offered their condolences.
“Carole King expressed her desire to help with relief efforts, and stated that “her thoughts and prayers are with the people of American Samoa.”
Don Binotto, President and CEO of StarKist, stated, “It is times like these that make you realize the importance of your employees, friends and families. At this moment, American Samoa is our family. We will help them going forward.”
“My Washington office has also been inundated with calls from many non-profit organizations which are ready to provide necessary assistance,” the Congressman continued.
“My office has also received letters and phone calls from Secretary of State and Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev of Kazakhstan, and Ambassador Erlan Iddrisov, Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to the US, who expressed their heart-felt concerns for the people of American Samoa and offered to be with us every step of the way as we work our way to recovery.”
“Ambassador Zhou of the People’s Republic of China made early contact with my office to assure us of China’s support. We have also received letters and calls from the Republic of Korea, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Palau and the calls keep coming in.”
“While my heart breaks for all those we lost, especially our little school children who were running for home when the waves hit, I continue to put my faith and trust in God. I know that God knows our troubles and hears our prayers, and He is answering our prayers through our friends at home and abroad. As we keep together, I have every confidence we will get through this, but we will never forget those who are no longer with us.”
“Again, I express my deepest appreciation to all those who have called and emailed and faxed in letters of condolences and support. Once more, I also thank Major General Robert Lee of the Hawaii Air National Guard, FEMA, the US Navy, the US Coast Guard, the US Air Force, the US Army, the US National Park Service, the White House, Congress, President Obama and the First Lady, and all those too numerous to name including the major networks and news agencies who are bringing attention to our needs and supporting us through this tragedy,” Faleomavaega concluded.