Hazard Mitigation Council Formed In American Samoa

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New Council will oversee all mitigation activities in Territory

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Oct. 27, 2013) – A new Territorial Hazard Mitigation Council (THMC) is in place after being appointed by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, who says the board "is responsible for overseeing and monitoring all mitigation activities for the territory."

Among its many duties and responsibilities as cited by Lolo, is for the Council to assist the governor and ASG in identifying mitigation issues and opportunities facing American Samoa "for the purpose of developing a comprehensive hazard mitigation strategy".

Additionally, the board is to prepare strategies, policies and reports on hazard mitigation issues including policy recommendations to the governor, Fono and key territorial agencies involved in mitigation related areas.

Moreover, they are to ensure that territorial agencies collaborate and cooperate fully to develop and execute sustainable hazard mitigation actions that will reduce the risk posed by all hazards to the territory; and coordinate with and support territorial agencies’ efforts in obtaining and administering federal and other grants including post-disaster mitigation available through the federal Robert T. Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act, for the purpose of promoting hazard mitigation opportunities within the territory.

The eleven members of the Council are: the Governor’s Authorized Representative (GAR); two legislative members — each appointed by the Senate President and House Speaker; Samoan Affairs Secretary or designee; Commerce director, Port Administration director, Public Works director, ASEPA executive director; head of the local Historical Preservation Office; executive director of ASPA; ASTCA’s executive director; Chamber of Commerce chairman; and director of the local Homeland Security Department.

The term for each member is 2-years, according to the memorandum, which further states that the Council is the authority for the American Samoa Hazard Mitigation Plan, mandated by the federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 and the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

The new Council comes at a time when lawmakers have called for the new Lolo Administration to provide an update of the territory’s hazard mitigation plan to address several hazard mitigation areas territory-wide, especially in Tualauta County.

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