Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the U.S. Small Business Administration has issued a declaration of disaster for the Island of Tutuila and The Manu`a Islands for damages resulting from the Tropical Cyclone Heta that hit American Samoa in early January, 2004.
“In response to the President’s declaration for Public Assistance on January 13, 2004, Associate Administrator for Disaster Assistance, Herbert L. Mitchell found that the territory of American Samoa constituted a disaster area because of damages caused by high winds, high surf and heavy rainfall from the cyclone,” the Congressman stated.
“The result of this declaration is that the U.S. Small Business Administration will provide loans to homeowners, businesses, non-profit organizations and others for physical damages, as well as loans to business and small agricultural cooperatives for economic injuries suffered as a result of the cyclone. These loans are issued at lower interest rates to help alleviate the difficulties associated with rebuilding infrastructure and economies suffering as a direct result of Heta,” the Congressman explained.
“The mission of SBA’s Disaster Assistance Program is to offer financial assistance to those who are trying to repair or reconstruct their homes and businesses in the aftermath of a disaster. By offering low-interest loans, the SBA is committed to long-term recovery efforts. The agency has assured me that it will do everything possible to meet the needs of those otherwise unable to put their lives back together.”
“Loan applications for physical damages may be filed until the close of business on March 22, 2004 and for economic injury until October 20, 2004, and should be sent to U.S. Small Business Administration, Disaster Area 4 Office, P.O. Box 419004, Sacramento, CA 95841-9004. More information can be obtained by calling the SBA’s Disaster Area 4 Office at 1-800- 488-5323 or by visiting their website at http://www.sba.gov/disasterarea4.”
“Given the damages we have incurred, I am pleased that President Bush, FEMA, and the SBA have recognized the great losses we have suffered as a consequence of cyclone Heta. I also thank the federal government for expediting assistance to American Samoa and I look forward to helping our communities rebuild their homes and businesses in the coming months,” the Congressman concluded.