Gov. Togiola: â€œWe thank God for sparing American Samoa of more devastationâ€
02/13/2010 - 18:15
Saturday, February 13, 2010 - The Cyclone Warning for the Territory of American Samoa was canceled today at 6am by the National Weather Service in Tafuna, who then issued a Gale Warning, which was canceled at 6pm.
Governor Togiola Tulafono issued the following statement after Tropical Cyclone Rene moved away from American Samoa:
We give thanks to God for his grace, mercy and loving kindness in allowing Cyclone Rene to spare American Samoa of more devastation than we can handle at this time.
The past few days we prepared ourselves for a natural disaster and we were spared the ravage of a hurricane that would have set us back even more from our current recovery and rebuilding efforts from the disaster of September 29th.
What a relief it is that Cyclone Rene only brought heavy rains and high winds in many parts of the Territory and no widespread damage. God has been merciful to us and spared us a repeat disaster and that is the last thing that American Samoa needs right now. We thank God for His love and forbearance and in answering our prayers.
I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to our Homeland Security Director Tuala Mike Sala, Governorâ€™s Authorized Representative Evelyn Vaitautolu-Langford and all who took part in our emergency response operation, our family of first responders, our government departments and agencies, and our volunteers for a remarkable team effort and support.
Thank you for collaborating to ensure that our emergency preparedness level remains high. And thank you for your commitment and dedication to our emergency preparedness and readiness for emergencies that may affect all of our families here in our island home. Faâ€™afetai.â€
February 12, 2010) â€“ Governor Togiola Tulafono today met with members of his Cabinet and emergency first responders as American Samoa braces for Cyclone Rene, which is scheduled to arrive on Tutuila at 9 oâ€™clock tonight.
In a briefing at the Territorial Emergency Management Coordination Office in Tafuna, Governor Togiola said the Territoryâ€™s emergency agencies are prepared and he expressed his gratitude for the preparation for Cyclone Rene.
Governor Togiola issued the following statement as the Territory prepares for the arrival of the storm.
STATEMENT FROM GOV. TOGIOLA
"It is always an ordeal when it comes to hurricanes and I am sure Cyclone Rene will be just as difficult. I urge everyone to listen carefully to the radio stations and the advisories from NOAA weather station and the Department of Homeland Security.
I am informed that the eye of the storm will be passing over the islands, or very close, and the winds are going to be strong and will most likely hit us from several directions. Be aware and and be safe. Exercise caution when taking safety measures.
Stay indoors and stay away from the beaches, shorelines and the ocean. Do not drive around if you do not absolutely have to. The waves and storm surge are very likely going to be strong and dangerous, and may affect the safety of the highways along the coast.
If you need help, please do not try to be heroes. Call the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 699-3800 or Public Safety at 633-1111 for assistance. Do not leave a location that is considered safe for you and your family until there is an official announcement that the storm has passed us and it is safe to leave your homes or shelters.
Our prayers are with all of you. Let us be brave and confident in the power of our God to keep us safe and to sustain us in these difficult times. Stay in prayer and stay safe."
At the time of the briefing, 4pm, the storm was 90 miles northeast of Pago Pago and moving southwest at a speed of about 11 mph.
Governor Togiola reported that all public schools are opened for relocation of island residents; Amouli and Tafuna Health Centers will be open 24 hours for medical assistance; and the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency highly encourages all residents to boil water for consumption.
"As we recover from the events of last September 29th, it is a good feeling that we have placed high priority to help ourselves by preparing and spreading the emergency awareness message,â€ said Governor Togiola. â€œAs we begin to feel the hurricane-force winds, I ask all the people of Tutuila and Manuâ€™a to remain calm and to utilize caution during the next few hours as we await the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Rene. May God keep all of our familes safe from the storm."