President Trump OKs disaster declaration in American Samoa

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP) — President Donald Trump has ordered federal assistance for American Samoa in the wake of damage caused by tropical storm Gita last month.

The White House announced Friday that Trump approved the disaster declaration for the U.S. territory in order to free up funding.

The assistance can go toward grants for temporary housing, home repairs, low-cost loans for property losses and other programs.

He previously declared an emergency in the region Feb. 11, a few days after the storm initially hit to help the 50,000 residents.

The storm pummeled the South Pacific islands, causing downed trees, damaged buildings and widespread power outages.

Hundreds of people are still living in emergency shelters.

Residents who sustained losses in designated areas can apply for assistance at a disaster recovery center in the coming days.

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