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Disaster Resilience Summit bridging the gap between the Government and Communities

By: Tosimaeʻa Tupua

Under the theme, Bridging the Gap between the Government and Communities, this year's summit is focused on engaging our community and local partners on the resiliency efforts for the Territory, working collaboratively with our Federal partners, this year’s summit is a 3 day event that will engage our community about their emergency support functions, roles and responsibilities in times of disasters. In addition there will be various sessions geared for government leadership.

According to Director Lisa Tuatoo the goal is to bridge the gap between our government agencies and the community we serve by generating dialogue.

Honorable Acting Governor and Attorney General Fainuulelei Falefatu Alailima Utu, during his remarks said, this year’s theme, “Bridging the Gap Between Government and Communities,” is important. Because we are a small island society, and most of all because of our culture, we value every single member of our community. We believe that each and every one of us has an important role in disaster resilience. Our government with the assistance from our federal and local partners, and everyone in the community must do his or her part to make sure that our islands can withstand the natural disasters that arrive on our shores with such regularity.

FEMA Regional Recovery Division Director Mr Robert Pesapane during his keynote address said American Samoa is no stranger to disaster impacts and to the impacts of a changing climate. “You are seeing changes to weather patterns just like other parts of the country and the world, and these changes call for robust action. In addition to strengthening climate resilience, FEMA’s mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. But we know that over years, we have sometimes not worked as effectively or as comprehensively as needed with some communities”, said Pesapane. He continued “That’s why among our three strategic goals for five years is a focus on equity. Making sure we help more people more effectively, and we don’t leave groups or communities behind”.

The goal of the summit is to provide opportunities to exchange information, discuss best practices and challenges we encounter.

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