U.S. Senators Daniel K. Akaka and Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Delegate Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) today applauded a $24,857,608 federal grant to assist clean-up and recovery efforts in American Samoa following last month’s destructive tsunami. The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the funds to American Samoa’s Department of Human Resources to create more temporary jobs to assist in recovery efforts.
“I attended a memorial service in Washington this past weekend and was reminded of the tremendous toll this tsunami took: Entire villages destroyed, children and grandparents lost, livelihoods ruined,” Senator Akaka said. “This grant will help American Samoa create temporary on-island jobs so residents can begin rebuilding their homes and infrastructure, surveying environmental damage, and repairing damaged industries.”
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those affected by the earthquakes and tsunami in American Samoa. The trauma suffered by the people dealing with the devastation and tragic loss of life is difficult to comprehend. These funds will help rebuild and restore the property that was destroyed and damaged and hopefully restore some semblance of the lifestyle that was lost,” said Senator Inouye.
Delegate Faleomavaega said: “I want to personally thank my good friend and former colleague, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, for releasing more than $24 million in National Emergency Grant funds to assist clean-up and recovery efforts in American Samoa. The people of American Samoa are deeply appreciative of the support we are receiving from the federal government since the earthquake and tsunami struck our islands on September 29 and, once more, I thank the Obama Administration, the U.S. Congress, FEMA, Secretary Solis and all others for standing with American Samoa as we begin the long and difficult process of rebuilding.”
“Our hearts go out to the victims and survivors of the recent tsunami in American Samoa,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Today’s grant will support ongoing recovery efforts and help American Samoans put their lives back together.”
Of the $24,857,608 announced today, $8,285,870 will be released initially. Additional funding up to the amount approved will be made available as the territory demonstrates a continued need for assistance, according to the Department of Labor.
On September 29, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared all islands in the United States territory of American Samoa eligible for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. As a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Senator Akaka has been briefed by FEMA officials on initial recovery efforts to send food, water, cots, medical supplies, and working vehicles from the FEMA Pacific Area Office warehouse in Honolulu to American Samoa. Senator Akaka worked to establish and maintain this office beginning in 1991 in order to protect isolated Pacific island communities.
For more information on National Emergency Grants, visit http://www.doleta.gov/NEG.