PRiMO19 Excusion to Aunu’u Island

27 September 2019, Aunuu, American Samoa – Representatives from PRiMO 2019 had the opportunity to go on an excursion to Aunuu island to visit sites and locations hit hard by sea level rise and coastal erosion. Notable issues explained by villagers include: erosion along the coastlines, saltwater infiltrated taro plantation and water wells and also reaching peoples homes, wharf destroyed by waves, generators for the whole island is located along the coastline without any protection, and many more.

The group experienced first hand the reality of the islanders.

Aunuu Island is home to about 500 people and is located at the south east tip of Tutuila. Aunuu Island has the largest freshwater marsh and wetland in American Samoa. Aunuu Island is also home to the Pacific black duck and the purple swamphen. It is the only marsh in American Samoa that grows the water chestnut. The main sources of economic activity for Aunuu are taro and the production of faausi.

Walking through the taro patches, known locally as taufusi on Aunu’u Island
With our guides at the freshwater marsh and wetland in Aunu’u Island

PRiMO19 Breakout Session Highlights

Recovery Support Function Group on Housing

25-26 September 2019, American Samoa – The Recovery Support Functions (RSFs) comprise the coordinating structure for key functional areas of assistance in the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF). Their purpose is to support local governments by facilitating problem solving, improving access to resources and by fostering coordination among State and Federal agencies, nongovernmental partners and stakeholders. The objective of the RSFs is to facilitate the identification, coordination and delivery of Federal assistance needed to supplement recovery resources and efforts by local, State, Tribal and Territorial governments, as well as private and nonprofit sectors. PRiMO 2019 included discussions around the five RSFs including: Natural and Cultural Resource Recovery, Infrastructure Recovery, Health and Social Services Recovery, Housing Recovery and Economic recovery. An overarching theme throughout all the PRiMO 2019 breakout sessions was the need for better integration of solutions to assist population with disabilities and special needs.

Breakout Session on Infrastructure with representatives from the American Samoa Power Authority, Department of Public Works, American Samoa Telecommunications Authority, Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum Management, Department of Homeland Security and many more.

The working group discussions on the different thematic areas on day one focused on learning from past lessons on what has been done well and what can be improved as well what is needed to make this happen.  On day two the outcomes of these discussions were presented to the PRiMO meeting overall.

The breakout session on Housing identified the following priorities for discussion: (1) Building Codes and Housing Designs; (2) Independent Oversight and Enforcement of Building codes; and (3) Capacity Building.

The breakout session on Infrastructure included participation from sectors and agencies key to building the resilience on critical infrastructure and processes in American Samoa.  Discussions in the group identified one critical infrastructure and one process as priority issues to address.  This narrowed the discussion to power and whole community approach.  From the infrastructure working group, emerging needs included inter-agency coordination/communication, whole community coordination/integration into planning and disaster recovery.  Other needs that came up include a comprehensive training needs assessment identifying what training is needed, who needs to be trained, how to assess outcomes.   

RSF on Economic Recovery

The breakout session on Health and Social Services identified three priority areas as: (1) Manage and share data to ensure delivery f services to populations in highest known need areas; (2) Coordination and communication within and across sections; and (3) Accessibility and delivery of medical services.

The breakout session on Economic Recovery identified following priority areas: (1) Supply chain disruptions; (2) Access to business recovery resources; (3) Disaster Assistance Availability; (4) Population and worker displacement; (5) Insurance Coverage; and (6) Resilience.

RSF Group on Health and Social Service at PRiMO 2019 in American Samoa

The Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRiMO) Conference is being held from 24 – 26 September 2019 at the American Samoa Community College in Pago Pago, American Samoa.  For more information on PRiMO please visit https://coast.noaa.gov/primo/conference/ or https://primo2019.uhtasi.org/

Building Resiliency In American Samoa


25 September 2019, American Samoa – The value of good relationships was stressed during a special talk from the Hon Togiola T.A Tulafono, former Governor of American Samoa who was in office during the 2009 tsunami.

The Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRiMO) two day meeting hosted in American Samoa for the third time since its formation in 2003, is remembering the American Samoa tsunami in 2009 as delegates plan to build resilience based on lessons learnt.

One of the strong messages shared by the former Governor was the value of good relationships.

“The most important thing I believed I addressed today is the fostering of the right and good relationships before disasters happen,” said Hon Togiola T.A Tulafono.

“That is what I have found, that these good relationships helped me deliver the tsunami recovery here in American Samoa in a very expeditious and efficient way that helped us get a declaration from our national government very quickly and helped me deliver the initial response immediately.”

The 2009 tsunami was generated by an 8.1 magnitude earthquake which occurred 120 miles southwest of American Samoa. It claimed 34 lives in American Samoa, damaged multiple properties, and caused millions of dollars in damages. 

The sobering experience also highlighted the crucial role of NGO’s in the recovery efforts, the Hon. Former Governor learned when going forward that NGO’s are part and parcel of the critical partnerships for resilience.

As American Samoa remembers the 2009 tsunami ten years, tsunami preparation and awareness has played a major role in ensuring the resilience of American Samoa is strong.

“We need to prepare ourselves for tsunamis more often, and better.  Hurricanes you can see them coming and we are able to get prepared for them before they arrive but tsunamis require urgent action and movement,” said Hon Togiola T.A Tulafono.

“We’re only a few miles away from the Tonga fault it’s an active fault and I think we should be paying more attention to the threat a tsunami can bring.”

The theme of the PRiMO 2019 is ‘Weaving a path to “precovery in American Samoa, Fafauina o se alafua e toe fausia ai Amerika Samoa”, this guiding principal is at the core of the two day discussion helping to address risk management and how American Samoa can better respond to disasters, building upon experiences and lessons learned from previous disasters.
Formed in 2003, the PRiMO is the platform for bringing people and organisations together, channeling their efforts towards common goals to help communities become more resilient in the face of the many natural and man-made challenges experienced by the Pacific islands.  In all there are over 100 organisations that participate in these ongoing efforts. 
Meeting every year, this year is the third PRiMO meeting hosted in American Samoa for which the meeting will seek feedback and input on pre-disaster recovery and long-term disaster recovery planning.
A key feature of the PRiMO this year is the 2009 tsunami in American Samoa.
“Don’t let our guards down.  After all we could be called to responde to an event tomorrow or tonight you never know when it comes to earthquakes and tsunamis. It can happen.”
The Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRiMO) Conference is being held from 24 – 26 September 2019 at the American Samoa Community College in Pago Pago in American Samoa.  For more information on PRiMO please visit https://coast.noaa.bov/primo/conference/ or https://primto2019.uhtasi.org/

What does “Resilience” mean to you?

“Resilience is the ability to come back from any natural disaster, or any disaster at all and learning from it, becoming stronger and having the ability to come back stronger from anything that happens.” – Scott Rozanski, Meteorologist, NOAA NWS

What does “Resilience” mean to you?

“The key thing is the transformation idea. How do we become better? Resilience is not just how we can come back better but doing better today and for the long-term benefits to be realised today.” – Paul Hanson, Researcher, University of Portland

What does “Resilience” mean to you?

“Resilience to me means communities and villages have the wherewithal to continue into the future based on their own sense of who they are and what they need to do. Utilizing their natural resources, their governance structures and to think about how to proceed into the future without losing who and what they are.” – Dr. Antoinette Freitas, Director of Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa

What does “Resilience” mean to you?

“It is learning how to better plan for events, how to respond, how to recover and how to adapt. And if we think about resilience as a continuum, I think we would be able to do a better job of actually understanding how it is. It is not this or that or the other thing, it is all of these things together.” – Jeff Payne, PRiMO Secretary/Director, NOAA Office of Coastal Management

What does “Resilience” mean to you?

“Resilience is not just bouncing back, but bouncing forward.” – Adam Stein, PRiMO Executive Director

Check out our photos from Pacific Risk Management `Ohana in American Samoa from 24 – 26 September, 2019!  Visit the Facebook page of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) at  https://www.facebook.com/SPREP.PEIN/

Awards Recognize Resilience Leaders In American Samoa

24 September 2019, American Samoa – Several individuals were honoured during a special reception and awards ceremony held at the Tradewinds Hotel in conclusion of the first day of the Pacific Risk Management `Ohana meeting in American Samoa. 

The awards recognised and rewarded individuals who exhibited exceptional leadership during the 2009 tsunami which struck American Samoa.

This week marks the tenth anniversary since the tsunami, which was generated by an 8.1 magnitude earthquake which occurred 120 miles southwest of American Samoa, claimed 34 lives, destroyed multiple homes, businesses and properties, and caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage. 

The first award was presented by the Lions Club of Pago Pago to Mr. Archie Soliai, Former President of the Club’s Pago Pago chapter.

Mr Soliai was the Club’s President in 2009 when the tsunami struck, and according to the Club’s current President, Ms Tafaimamao Tua-Tupuola, was one of the very first respondents after the tsunami struck.

“He was one of the very first people out on the field after the tsunami, providing help and assisting the people of our country, anyone who was in need at the time,” said Ms Tua-Tupuola.

In receiving his award, Mr Soliai highlighted that it is part of the Samoan culture to always help out those in need, and it was that part of him which naturally kicked in when the tsunami struck. 

“I hope everyone who is here for the PRiMO conference can learn from our Samoan culture. We are a resilient people because we don’t wait around for someone or some agency to come in and help us. We first help each other and help ourselves,” Mr Soliai said. 

Three awards were also presented by the American Samoa Department of Homeland Security in recognition of key people who were instrumental in the recovery efforts of American Samoa after the tsunami. 

Former Governor of American Samoa, Hon. Togiola Tulafono, was the first recipient, Faoa Aitofele Suni, Former Lt. Governor of American Samoa also received an award and Leilua Mase Akapo, Meteorologist-in-Charge in 2009 when the tsunami struck.

The final award was presented by the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center, in recognition of Galumalemana Ifopo Fuapopo Avegalio, whose efforts in training and educating the local community communities throughout many disasters since 1987, has helped build the resilience of the local communities in American Samoa. 

The reception, organised by the Lions Club of Pago Pago, brought together the participants of the PRiMO Meeting to unwind after a productive day of deliberations, and presented the perfect opportunity for the awards and recognitions to be given out. 

Formed in 2003, the PRiMO is the platform for bringing people and organisations together, channeling their efforts towards common goals to help communities become more resilient in the face of the many natural and man-made challenges experienced by the Pacific islands.  In all there are over 100 organisations that participate in these ongoing efforts.

Meeting every year, this year is the third PRiMO meeting hosted in American Samoa for which the meeting will seek feedback and input on pre-disaster recovery and long-term disaster recovery planning.
The special PRiMO awards event hosted by the Lions Club of Pago Pago took place on 24 September at the Tradewinds hotel. – #ASPRiMO2019

The Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRiMO) Conference is being held from 24 – 26 September 2019 at the American Samoa Community College in Pago Pago in American Samoa.  For more information on PRiMO please visit https://coast.noaa.bov/primo/conference/ or https://primto2019.uhtasi.org/
The Role Of Natural And Cultural Resources In Resilience

24 September 2019, American Samoa – The crucial role of natural and cultural resources for community resilience was discussed during a working group at the Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRiMO) in American Samoa on day one.

Natural and Cultural Resource Recovery is one of the five themes of the American Samoa Resilience Plan guided by the National Disaster Recovery Framework, along with infrastructure, health and social services, housing and economic recovery.

The PRiMO is a collection of over 100 organizations that participate in an ongoing effort to collaborate and channel efforts towards common goals to bring about community resilience in the face of the many natural and man-made challenges across the Pacific islands.

Every two years members of PRiMO meet and this year it is hosted in American Samoa for the third time since PRiMO was formed in 2003, with a focus on ‘Weaving a path to “precovery” in American Samoa bringing together over 150 meeting delegates.

It is hoped that responsible agencies at all levels of government and their important private sector partners will support recovery plans and priorities of communities on American Samoa by developing a Natural and Cultural Resources action plan.  This plan will identify how the agencies leverage resources and capabilities to meet the needs of the community.

“One way we plan to bridge the role of our natural resources and our culture to enhance our Pacific resilience is through the Lotonuu Campaign which we aim to launch this year,” said Mrs Kim McGuire-Woo Ching of the American Samoa Coral Reef Advisory Group (CRAG).

“The Lotonuu Campaign will be the vehicle to encourage many positive outcomes as we call upon our local communities here to reconnect with our environment as stewards.  We hope it brings a harmonious relationship of give and take between the land, the ocean, and its people in American Samoa for a sustainable way of life.  Lotonuu means to love, respect, and have pride in your land and ocean.”

The CRAG is a formalized collaboration of five different agencies all of which have links to the coral reef environment and management.  These are the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR), the Department of Commerce, American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA), the American Samoa Community College and the National Parks of American Samoa. 

The Lotonuu Campaign was just one of the many different issues raised during discussions by the natural and cultural resource recovery working group.  Other concerns raised included the need to continue and strengthen the traditional methods of sustainability as these will be valuable during times of disasters when modern facilities such as electricity or access to imported foods are not available.

“For us in American Samoa, our traditional knowledge and the linkages between our environment has a valuable role in precovery, we now need to know how best to enhance and strengthen this knowledge so we can ‘bounce back’ after a disaster hits,” said Ms. Elinor Lutu-McMoore, Meteorologist in Charge of the National Weather Service Office in American Samoa.

“We must also be mindful that while there is traditional knowledge that can build our resilience which is commonly known across American Samoa, there are also different sets of knowledge that different villages have on how best to survive in the face of natural hazards.  Learning and collaborating with each other can help strengthen resiliency in times of disasters.”

The working group discussions on the different thematic areas on day one focused on learning from past lessons on what has been done well and what can be improved as well what is needed to make this happen.  On day two the outcomes of these discussions will be presented to the PRiMO meeting overall. – #ASPRiMO19

The Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRiMO) Conference is being held from 24 – 26 September 2019 at the American Samoa Community College in Pago Pago, American Samoa.  For more information on PRiMO please visit https://coast.noaa.gov/primo/conference/ or https://primo2019.uhtasi.org/
Remembering the American Samoa Tsunami Ten Years On

WARNING: This story may cause emotional distress.

24 September 2019, Pago Pago, American Samoa – Pulenu’u or village mayors from five villages in American Samoa that were affected by the earthquake and tsunami of 2009 shared their stories from that fateful morning of 29 September 2009 at the Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRIMO) Meeting in American Samoa today.

The PRiMO has brought together over 150 delegates to channel efforts towards common goals to build community resilience in American Samoa, this includes looking at lessons learnt from past disasters with a special panel.

The 2009 tsunami was generated by an 8.1 magnitude earthquake which occurred 120 miles southwest of American Samoa. It claimed 34 lives in American Samoa, damaged multiple properties, and caused millions of dollars in damages. 

Maluolefalealataua Ropati Opa, pulenu’u of Leone village, recounted the events which unfolded during the morning of the tsunami. Leone was one of the worst affected village in American Samoa.

“I was woken by loud crashes and bangs at around 6:00 a.m. in the morning. It was then that I could feel the ground moving. I went to check what it was and saw that our television set had fallen onto the floor, as well as mirrors and other household items. My wife and I have a little shop in front of our house and all the goods on the shelves were now on the floor! 

“I did not know what was happening, so I ran outside to look for my wife. I found her in front of our house, watching the road moving in wave-like patterns because of the earthquake. I looked across the road to the sea and saw that the water was receding!

“The sea had dried up, and from afar I could see the wave starting to build up. It was then that I knew we had to move, but it was too late. My wife and I were caught in the wave and it swept us along with debris about 80 metres back from the beach. I sustained a lot of injuries and had to be taken to the hospital, but I thank God that my wife and I survived when so many other people didn’t. 

Maluolefalealataua stated that the village learned from the 2009 tsunami and are now better prepared should another hit. There are two escape routes and assembly points within the village which can be used to escape a tsunami, and the village participate in national tsunami drills which are conducted regularly by the Department of Homeland Security. 

Aveao Faausu Fonoti, pulenu’u of Amanave village was saying his morning prayers when he felt the ground shaking. He knew instantly something bad was going to happen, and that there was no time to waste. 

“The earthquake was so strong, it felt like my house was going to collapse! I told my kids to run, and I called out to others from our village who had come out to see what was happening, ‘To the mountain! If you want to live, run to the mountain!’

“The waves came almost instantly, and I still remember the last one was the strongest of them all. It was about 10 feet tall and it wiped out houses and trees that were halfway up the mountain.”

In the village of Poloa, the School Principal of the village primary school was hailed for her quick thinking and good judgement, which saved the lives of his young students. 

The Principal made a call to close the school and evacuate his students and teachers to higher ground well before an official warning had been issued by the local authorities. Had he waited for a warning; it would have been too late for them. 

Mr Uiese Faamolemole of Failolo and Agugulu village said, “I will not talk about times past; I would rather talk about the present. I don’t want to remember the terrible disaster and the destruction it brought with it. I lost seven members of my family to the tsunami, including a child of only four years old. I don’t want to focus on that. 

“I, along with the people in my village, are focusing on the present and making sure that we are always prepared and vigilant. We know now what to do should another tsunami hit, we have plans in place on what to do and where to go, so we are ready, and we will not be careless again.”

Similarly, the village of Pago Pago are focusing their energies on ensuring their village is well prepared in the event of a tsunami. 

“Pago Pago is grateful to the Department of Homeland Security for the warning systems that have been put in place, as well as the constant tsunami drills that are carried out. These ensure that we are well prepared the next time a tsunami occurs, and that we are more resilient should these types of events happen again.

“The tsunami that occurred ten years ago was a tragic time for our country, but we are stronger because of it.” 

The special panel hearing the stories of the Pulenu’u was held on Day one of the PRiMO.  Over the course of the two days, breakout groups will also be held in the key theme areas of infrastructure, health and social services, housing, natural and cultural resources as well as economic recovery seeking input on resilience from PRiMO meeting participants to help guide pre-disaster recovery and long-term disaster recovery planning. – #ASPRiMO19

The Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRiMO) Conference is being held from 24 – 26 September 2019 at the American Samoa Community College in Pago Pago in American Samoa.  For more information on PRiMO please visit https://coast.noaa.bov.primo/conference/ or https://primto2019.uhtasi.org/
From UN Climate Summit In New York To Pacific Risk Management `Ohana Meeting In American Samoa

24 September 2019, American Samoa – The voice of 16 year old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has made ripples in American Samoa at the opening of the Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRiMO) Meeting today – ‘Ohana being the Hawaiian word for family.
The theme of the PRiMO 2019 is ‘Weaving a path to “precovery in American Samoa, Fafauina o se alafua e toe fausia ai Amerika Samoa”, this guiding principal is at the core of the two day discussion helping to address risk management and how American Samoa can better respond to disasters, building upon experiences and lessons learned from previous disasters.
Words from Ms. Thunberg’s speech at the UN Climate Summit now underway at the UN Headquarters in New York were quotes during the opening of PRiMO, helping to set the scene for PRiMO discussions ahead.  Ms. Thunberg questioned global leaders and their lack of action as the world is starting global mass extinction.
“Powerful words were said from a 16 year old, looking ahead at the years to come and the generations to come and they are telling us that the future is theirs but we need to do something right now,” said the Lieutenant Governor, Hon Lemanu Palepoi S. Mauga of American Samoa after he outlined the impacts of climate change based upon science.
The world is becoming is increasingly effected by a changing climate such as food security, diseases, droughts, and sea level rise which is a strong threat to the Pacific region given four of the six lowest lying nations in the world are in the Pacific.

“We all want to be able to ‘build back better’ so that our communities become stronger.  A resilient community is likely to be wealthier and healthier.  We see firsthand, alongside the Pacific leaders of our region, the impacts and implications of the climate change crises facing our American Samoa and we acknowledge the ambitious action on climate change that that region has been calling for.”
Formed in 2003, the PRiMO is the platform for bringing people and organisations together, channeling their efforts towards common goals to help communities become more resilient in the face of the many natural and man-made challenges experienced by the Pacific islands.  In all there are over 100 organisations that participate in these ongoing efforts. 
Meeting every year, this year is the third PRiMO meeting hosted in American Samoa for which the meeting will seek feedback and input on pre-disaster recovery and long-term disaster recovery planning.
The two day event will remember the 10th Anniversary of the 2009 tsunami in American Samoa with a special session that shares the stories and lessons learnt of resilience building following the disaster which claimed 34 lives in American Samoa alone.
Breakout groups will also be held in the key theme areas of infrastructure, health and social services, housing, natural and cultural resources as well as economic recovery seeking input on resilience from PRiMO meeting participants to help direct the American Samoa Technical Assistance Guide.
Over these two days the sharing of stories was encouraged by Mr Adam Stein, the Executive Director of PRiMO as he shared his personal experience of the 1989 Hurricane Hugo which struck Charleston, an extreme weather event that has been labelled by some as the first modern destructive hurricane.

“My suffering and your suffering is part of a shared experience.  Anxiety during hurricane season are feelings we all experience, and we can share our stories and transform our suffering into moments of connection that can lead to great things,” presented Mr Stein during the opening ceremony of the 2019 PRiMO meeting.
“We can share our stories and transform our suffering into moments of connection that can lead to great things.”
The PRiMO opens after a day of pre-meeting training sessions for which the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) facilitated the media Mana Class on PRiMO and Climate Resilience in partnership with PRiMO. – #ASPRiMO19
The Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRiMO) Conference is being held from 24 – 26 September 2019 at the American Samoa Community College in Pago Pago in American Samoa.  For more information on PRiMO please visit https://coast.noaa.bov/primo/conference/ or https://primto2019.uhtasi.org/

American Samoa looks to welcome Pacific Risk Management `Ohana 2019 – September 24-25, 2019

Pacific Risk Management `Ohana Meeting to convene in American Samoa

23 September 2019, Pago Pago, American Samoa – Building a path to ‘precovery’ in American Samoa. 
This is the theme of the Pacific Risk Management `Ohana meeting, a two-day meeting which convenes this week in American Samoa. 

To be held at the American Samoa Community College, the meeting will bring together 150 people from across American Samoa and the Pacific, as well as mainland US to address issues on risk management, and how American Samoa can better respond to disasters, building upon experiences and lessons learned from previous disasters.  

The American Samoa earthquake and tsunami of 2009 will be highlighted throughout the two days of the meeting, in commemoration of the tenth anniversary since the disaster struck, claiming 34 lives and damaging multiple properties in American Samoa. 

Representatives from villages who were most affected during the tsunamis will share their experiences, some sad and some successes, as a way of looking back to see how far the country has come, and how it has rebuilt itself. 

The sessions will also look at the impacts of Tropical Storm Gita as well as seek feedback and input into the American Samoa Resilience Plan guided by the National Disaster Recovery Framework.

This is the third time American Samoa has hosted the PRiMO meeting, with the last time being 2013. 

Ms. H. Gingerlei Porter, Director of the Pacific International Training Desk with the University of Hawaii, said the main purpose of bringing the meeting back to American Samoa this year is to promote re-engagement with countries and to take it back to grassroots level.

“PRiMO started as a group of organisations with a specific focus on priorities that were identified by the local communities. We want to readjust back to that focus and to take it back to the community level,” Ms. Porter said. 

A traditional ‘ava ceremony will be held in Utulei to officially open the meeting. The two days of deliberations will conclude with a field visit to Aunu’u island, which is one of the most affected by climate change and rising sea levels in American Samoa.

A tsunami drill will also be conducted upon conclusion of the meeting, and a memorial service to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the tsunami will close off the week.- #ASPRiMO19 

The Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRiMO) Conference is being held from 24 – 26 September 2019 at the American Samoa Community College in Pago Pago, American Samoa. For more information on PRiMO please visit https://coast.noaa.gov/primo/conference www.primo2019.uhtasi.org
New Mexico Tech (NMT) Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC) Conduct Trainings at PRiMO2019

September 23, 2019, Pago Pago, American Samoa – The Energetic Materials Reserach and Testing Center (EMRTC)/New Mexico Tech was part of the Pre-PRiMO19 teams hosting training in American Samoa. The EMRTC/NMT conducted two trainings: (1) Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings and (2) Initial Law Enforcement Response To Suicide Bombings Attack training at the American Samoa Department of Homeland Security Office in Tafuna. The training on incident response to terrorist bombings is designed to provider emergency first responders with the skills to recognize Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), their components, and the respond to terrorist bombing incidents, while the training on suicide bombing was designed to provide law enforcement officers with the skills and knowledge to effectively interdict and respond to an imminent person-borne or vehicle-borne suicide bombing attack.

The Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC), a major research and training division of New Mexico Tech, is internationally recognized and has over 60 years experience in explosives research and testing. EMRTC specializes in the research, development, testing, and analysis of energetic materials for both corporate and government clients.
Natural Disaster Awareness for Caregivers, Small Businesses and Organizations Courses

September 23, 2019, Pago Pago, American Samoa – It was a full house at the Natural Disaster Awareness for Caregivers course hosted by the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC) as part of the Pre-PRiMO 2019 meeting in American Samoa. There were over 40+ attendees from various sectors and agencies throughout the Territory. The course focused on understanding natural hazards, risk, vulnerability and disaster preparedness to build better resilience for at risk individual receiving care functions for medical, functional, or access needs. Participants learned and were encouraged to prepare for the impacts of local natural hazards, identify methods for assisting care receivers to prepare for natural disaster and identify appropriate preparedness actions to take during a disaster. Course Instructor Mr. James Burke explained the this course stemmed from previous work in American Samoa and the NDPTC is happy to be back to offer it locally. The 4-hour course covered three modules: Caregiver Preparedness, Care Receiver Preparedness and a Comprehensive Activity for all.
In addition to the course for Caregivers, a second course for Small Business and Organizations was also delivered by the NDPTC. Instructor Paul Manson focused training Disaster Recovery Planning, Partners in Disaster Recovery, Recovery Plans Elements and Plan Development. Participants learned key concepts for increasing small business resiliency to disasters, including risks associated with natural disasters and hazards, methods of assessing that risk, financial tools, and the business continuity planning process.

The NDPTC is a member of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium. The NDPTC is a DHS/FEMA training partner dedicated to providing critical all-hazards training throughout the United States and its territories with an emphasis on natural hazards and island and coast communities.
https://ndptc.hawaii.edu/

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American Samoa Media Mana Class Before The Pacific Risk Management `Ohana

23 September 2018, American Samoa – Climate resilience and Pacific Risk Management `Ohana were topics of a Mana Class for media and community college journalism students of American Samoa today.
This is the third time since American Samoa are host of PRiMO, also known as the Pacific Risk Management `Ohana Conference.  PRiMO was last in American Samoa in 2013, with the conference predominantly held in Hawaii.
The media Mana Class on climate resilience and Pacific risk management was one of five pre-PRiMO trainings to take place.  Also held was training on natural disaster awareness for caregivers, disaster resilience for small business and organizations, incident response to terrorist bombings as well as prevention and response to suicide bombing incidents.
“This media Mana Class was a very fruitful training with strong engagement and discussion,” said Ms Nanette Woonton of the Communications and Outreach Unit at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), facilitator of the training.
“The session was about providing American Samoa media members with knowledge of climate resilience so they are better able to share this information in the best way so their audiences can understand more of this issue that will impact everyone.”
A special session was held on the PRiMO held across 24 – 26 September to help media members learn more about this event of which the theme is Fafauina o se alafua e toe fausia ai Amerika Samoa – Weaving a Path to “Precovery” in American Samoa.
PRiMO brings together over 150 people from across American Samoa and the Pacific Ocean during the 10th commemoration of the 2009 tsunami to address risk management in American Samoa and the Pacific region.
The PRiMO will visit the 2009 tsunami and its impacts and how the nation has rebuilt itself, sessions will also look at the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Gita as well seek feedback and input into the American Samoa Technical Assistance Guide for the United States National Disaster Recovery Guide.
“For me I learned a lot from it, not only that we talked about climate change but also other key environment issues are important to learn from to take care of our future,” said Ms Diane Folasa of KVZK TV of the Office of Public Information of American Samoa.
“This training has really given me the idea of how climate change is real.  I have known and seen the impacts, but the training this morning has given me an idea of how to prepare and how to prevent certain things that are happening in our community and our island, American Samoa as well as our Pacific Island region, because we are all part of it,” said Mr Tautalaso’o Letalu of KVZK TV of the Office of Public Information of American Samoa. – #ASPRiMO19
The Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRiMO) Conference is being held from 24 – 26 September 2019 at the American Samoa Community College in Pago Pago, American Samoa. For more information on PRiMO please visit https://coast.noaa.gov/primo/conference/ or https://primo2019.uhtasi.org/
Fa’atautaia se a’oa’oga mo tusitala i mataupu tau fesuia’iga o le tau

O le aso muamua o lea fa’atasiga na talanoaina ai le mataupu o lo’o fai ma lu’itau ma fa’afitauli I le tele o atu motu o le Pasefika. Na fa’asoa ai le mataupu o le fesuiaiga o le tau, ma le a’afiaga o le soifuaga fa’aletagata ma puna’oa fa’alenatura, e aofia ai le si’itia o le vevela o le tau, ma le si’itia o le fafati o galu ma le sami. O isi o tulaga sa talanoaina o atu motu eseese o le Pasefika o lo’o feagai nei ma ni isi o lu’itau, ua amata ai o na faia ni suiga i tulaga o le aveese mai o tagata i motu o lo’o a’afia i le fesuiaiga o le tau ma si’itia atu i nu’u e mafai ona nonofo ai. O lenei fo’i mataupu ua tula’i ai le manatu i ta’ita’i ma vaega eseese o malo ta’itasi i le atu Pasefika, e aufa’atasi e faia se leo i fa’atasiga fa’avaomalo o lo’o faia ai se maliega ina ia faia suiga e tali atu ai i le fesuiaiga o le tau. Na mafai ona fa’asoa fo’i i auala eseese ma tulaga faigofie, e fofo ma taumafai ina ia aua ne’i a’afia i le fesuiaiga o le tau.
Na mafai ona faailoa i le vasega o tusitala auala eseese ma metotia e faia ina ia taumafai e fesoasoani i lea mataupu. O se tasi o vaega taua, o le fa’aitiitia lea o le fa’alapisi ma fa’amama tulaga o tafaala ma itu o lo’o lata i le sami po’o pito i matafaga. O nei tulaga, e fesoasoani i le nofo malamalama o tagata lautele ma ia nofo sauni I vaega uma e ono a’afia ai le tagata ma le soifuaga ma le ola o la’au, i’a o le sami, ma manu felelei, ma manu o lo’o i le lau eleele. O se isi vaega taua na faailoa e tusitala i lea fa’atasiga, o le iai lea o ni isi o suiga o lo’o a’afia ai motu tuaoi po’o atu motu o le Pasefika.
O se a’oa’oga taua o le fa’ataua lea o lea mataupu ina ia mafai ona faia suiga, fofo, ma ia faigofie ai ona nofo sa’oloto ma saogalemu i le iloa lelei o le tulaga e tatau ona fai. Ma o le a’afiaga, e le iloa, le aso ma le taimi e tupu ai le fesuiaiga o le tau. Pau lava le tulaga lelei e tatau ona fai, o le tapena ma a’oa’oina le mafaufau i auala eseese e mafai ona tali atu i le fesuiaiga o le tau. O le la’asaga muamua, o le saili lea o uiga va’aia o le fesuiaga o le tau. Lona lua, fa’aleo le fa’afitauli ma a’oa’oina tagata lautele. Lona tolu, saili auala e tali ai i le fa’afitauli. Ma le vaega mulimuli, o le nofo tapena ma sauniuni i tulaga e tatau ona fai. Ma o le taua o lea a’oa’oga, e le na o le iloa o le fesuiaiga o le tau, ae ia malamalama i le mafua’aga, a’afiaga, ma auala e tali atu ai.
O lenei a’oa’oga sa fa’atautaia fa’atasi ma ni isi a’oa’oga e lima a’o le i amatalia le fonotaga tele i le aso a taeao.

Trainers for Pre-PRiMO Conference Training Arrive in American Samoa

September 20, 2019, American Samoa – Trainers from the Energetic Materials Reserach and Testing Center (EMRTC)/New Mexico Tech and the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center arrived in American Samoa for the Pre-PRiMO conference training scheduled for Monday, September 23, 2019. There will be 4 trainings conducted: National Disaster Awareness for Caregivers; Disaster Resilience for Small Businesses and Organization; Incident Response to Terriorist Bombings and Prevention and REsponse to Suicide Boming Incidents. Trainings will be at the ASCC MPC and Deparmtent of Homeland Security. For more information, please contact Antonina Paselio or Tafa Tua-Tupuola at primo2019@uhtasi.org.

3 Days to #ASPRiMO19. ECONOMIC RECOVERY- On September 29, 2009 American Samoa experienced a catastrophic Tsunami Disaster #DR1859 as a result of an 8.1 Magnitude earthquake. The day before, Chicken of the Sea (COS) Samoa Packing, one of two major employers for people with disabilities, shut its doors to almost 2,000 employees due to incremental increases to meet federal minimum wage standards (Thank you Starkist for sticking around). For people with disabilities, it is twice the challenge seeking employment but to be self-employed is liberating and allows them to live independently as part of the whole community. Small businesses along the coastline took up to two years to recover. Many never returned because of financial hardship with no insurance or fear. Some business owners were struck twice with their homes included. Many feared to leave or return to their homes. Some relocated and never returned to American Samoa. American Samoa 2010 census dropped by 3.1% from 2000. What does this mean? The Federal Government relies on Census data to determine federal funding to our territory. What precovery plans do we have in place to keep our people home? How can we promote resilience for people with disabilities who are self-employed? Be a strand and let’s weave this conversation as a whole community at #ASPRiMO19.

4 Days to #ASPRiMO19. HEALTH SECURITY-Climate change influence on mosquito-borne diseases such as ZIKV and Lymphatic Filariasis, that threatens the health of mom’s and our people. When it comes to natural disasters, people with disabilities take twice as long to recover due to their complex needs. With the limited access to quality healthcare for individuals with disabilities, we rely on telehealth to access telemedicine and teleconsultation in an interdisciplinary approach. PRiMO will bring together agencies and communities to discuss PRECOVERY and how we can build a more resilient territory. #ZIKV#PBLEND

5 days to #ASPRiMO2019. The dawn of a new day, we are reminded of the resilience of the people of American Samoa and the Pacific in their cultures, customs and traditions. We are reminded of the need for better structural solutions to coastal erosion, sea level rise, etc. As one lane breaks and another one erodes away, how do we rebuild better and stronger?

6 Days to #ASPRiMO19. Living on an island with 2 flights a week, we rely also on our critical infrastructure “sea port” and the shipment of goods. Conversations around whats in place to recover quickly to minimize disruption and increase resilience will engage the whole community. #DR1859

7 Days to #ASPRiMO19 highlighted the critical role of technology integration in building resilience, planning, preparedness and recovery. Our lives become dependent on the use of technology for communications, education, telehealth, disaster management and in many different aspects. How do you find the balance to effectively and meaningfully integrate technology in precovery?

#ASPRiMO19 Theme “Weaving a Path to Precovery in American Samoa” will bring 8 countries together in one fale to have an open conversation around disasters and the impact of climate change in the Pacific Region. Weaving lessons learned, best practices, and possible solutions in a unified recovery effort to increase resilience.