Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that President Obama called him this morning in Pago Pago at 7:50 am local time in response to the recent tsunami that struck American Samoa. The President conveyed condolences and checked in on recovery efforts.
From the moment the phone conversation began, President Obama said, ‘Eni, I just wanted to see how everything is going over there, and Michelle and I wanted to convey our condolences and sympathies to the victims and families in American Samoa.”
President Obama said that he had taken action and activated the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by declaring a major disaster declaration for American Samoa and said he wanted to follow-up to make sure that the federal government was doing its part in a way that met the expectations of the Congressman, the Governor, and the people.
In response to the President’s overwhelming support and concern, Faleomavaega said, “Mr. President, I deeply appreciate the condolences you and the First Lady have extended to the people of American Samoa. FEMA is here, and everything is moving forward as it should.” Faleomavaega thanked the President that FEMA officials were on island and conducting surveys and responding quickly to the crisis.
Faleomavaega and the President also discussed the loss of life and damage in the Independent State of Samoa. Faleomavaega informed the President about his intent to visit the leaders in Samoa to also assess their situation and requested that humanitarian assistance for Samoa be provided from USAID and the U.S. State Department. The President assured Faleomavaega that Samoa has the full support of the White House and Administration, and that he is closely monitoring the situation.
In closing, Faleomavaega said, “Thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership and your support of our people during this terrible time of tragedy. God bless you. Continue the good work you and the First Lady are doing for our country.”
Before ending, the President asked if there was anything else the people needed at this time and offered his full support as American Samoa and Samoa begin the process of rebuilding.
“I cannot thank our President and the First Lady enough for remembering us in their thoughts and prayers, and for taking time to check in on our people,” Faleomavaega said. “It is precisely because of the goodness of their hearts and the strength of their character that I supported Barack Obama for President from the beginning. I knew that as President, and with the First Lady by his side, they would bring about change and remake America in a way that would bring about brighter days for all Americans. Our country is blessed to have President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to guide us through difficult times.”
“After our call, President Obama even took the time to issue a third statement regarding the crisis in American Samoa. He said:
On behalf of the American people, I want to once again extend my deepest condolences to the people of American Samoa and Samoa for the terrible loss of life and the devastation that took place after the recent earthquake and tsunami. I’ve spoken to the governor and delegate from American Samoa, and we continue to provide the full support of the federal government for relief efforts there. I have also directed the State Department to provide the assistance necessary to help Samoa recover as well.
“As I previously stated,” Faleomavaega concluded, “I am a firm believer that God answers prayers through others. On behalf of the people of American Samoa, I want to once more thank President Obama for all he and the First Lady are doing to help American Samoa and our brothers and sisters in Samoa in our greatest time of need.”