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National Disaster Legal Aid

Tropical Cyclone Gita Help for American Samoans

The Disaster Legal Hotline is 684-633-3301 

Tropical Cyclone Gita struck American Samoa beginning on February 9, 2018 and strong winds and heavy rains have devastated many areas of the territory. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced on March 2, 2018 that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the territory of American Samoa to supplement territory recovery efforts in the areas affected by Tropical Storm Gita from February 7 to February 12, 2018.

This makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the territory of American Samoa. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Individual assistance is available for people in the following areas: 

  • Eastern (District)
  • Manu'a (District)
  • Rose Island (Island) (County-equivalent)
  • Swains Island (Island) (County-equivalent)
  • Western (District)

Important Deadlines

FEMA Registration for Federal Disaster Assistance May 1, 2018
IRS tax filings June 29, 2018
Appeal Your FEMA Decision
Within 60 days of the date on the determination letter

Key Resources for Those Impacted by the Cyclone

Government Disaster Relief Benefits

Residents and businesses affected by Cyclone Gita can apply for government disaster relief benefits in several ways:

  • Online at
  • On the FEMA Mobile App
  • Calling 800-621-3362 (FEMA)- Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available. Press 3 for other languages.
  • Visiting a Disaster Recovery Center.
  • For official news and press releases related to Cyclone Gita, please visit FEMA's News & Updates-Gita page.

Legal Assistance

  • A legal assistance hotline (684-633-3301) is now available to connect low-income individuals affected by the disaster with local legal aid providers who can help with legal matters such as appealing denials of FEMA applications and executing powers of attorney and affidavits necessary for FEMA/SBA benefits. For the full press release, please click here. The hotline hours of operation are 7:30 am to 4:00 pm local time.
  • Visit American Samoa Legal Aid (English | Samoan, Gagana Samoan) for additional updates and legal rights information.
  • If you need to appeal a FEMA denial on your own, please see here to get an interactive form to appeal and letter requesting a copy of your file. 
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest on the News page.
  • Help After a Disaster: FEMA's Guide for the Individual Applicants


  • Please watch for updates on FEMA's website.
  • Apply to FEMA to trigger the SBA Disaster loan process. You might get a call about applying for an SBA loan.  Listen!

Are You An Attorney Who Can Help? 


Please fill this form out if you are interested in providing legal assistance to disaster survivors in American Samoa.  The disaster legal services hotline is operated by intake specialists from American Samoa Legal Aid, Inc.  Survivors that are not able to obtain assistance from ASLA will be referred to an attorney barred in American Samoa, or a volunteer attorney from the continental United States.

American Samoa Legal  Aid,  the American  Samoa  Bar  Association,  the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABAYLD), and other organizations are organizing to help provide free legal and recovery assistance to people affected by Tropical Storm Gita.  A representative of the YLD DLS program will be in Pago Pago, American Samoa to provide disaster legal services training and a public workshop. For the full press release and training dates, please click here


The American Samoa Legal Aid, Inc.(“ASLA”) is seeking to employ one full-time attorney on a two year contract for its non-profit law firm that provides free civil legal services to low-income residents of American Samoa.

ASLA is interested in an attorney with legal experience in handling FEMA assistance appeals and other disaster related matters such as property insurance, SBA loan reconsideration and appeals, home construction contracts, replacement of important documents, consumer issues, debt collection defense, home foreclosure defense, home loans, affidavits, powers of attorney, and other disaster related issues. For complete job posting, please click here.

Other Resources That Can Help

Related News

For recent news related to legal aid & American Samoa's recovery please click here.