American Samoa lends Samoa helping hand
An American Samoan fundraising effort to assist Samoa's fight against measles has raised more than $790,000.
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, was in American Samoa to receive the proceeds from the Fesoasoani Alofa mo Samoa fundraising effort on Saturday Samoan time.
“On behalf of Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga and the people of American Samoa, First Lady Cynthia Moliga [has presented] a cheque to Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Aiono Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, to aid in the measles emergency in Samoa,” the Government of American Samoa said in a statement posted online.
Local news outlet Talanei reported the initial plan to present the donation was for a Government delegation to travel to Samoa to present the gift; however, on Tuesday the Governor’s Office informed directors that Prime Minister Tuilaepa and five Cabinet Ministers intended to make the trip.
The donation was the result of 18 days' fundraising, which was overseen by a fundraising committee headed by the Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga Tasi Asuega, and the Treasurer, Ueligitone Tonumaipea.
Lolo said the fundraising committee had sought contributions from churches, citizens and the public sector.
“All [American Samoa Government] employees are to contribute USD$10 USD ($26) deputy directors USD$100 USD ($260) and directors and C.E.O.s USD$300 ($780)," a directive sent to public servants read.
The number of Government employees in the American territory, including semi-autonomous agencies, totals 6,804.
To date the Government's patrol boat the Nafanua II has made three trips to the U.S. Territory for 288 oxygen tanks to assist the Ministry of Health with their oxygen supply at a time when measles-related pneumonia is on the rise.
In an earlier interview Governor Lolo said that while the two Samoa are separated by the Pacific: “We are one”.
The Governor said he has already reached out to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi.
“I reached out to the Prime Minister yesterday and gave comforting words to soothe his spirit as the country faces the deadly virus," Governor Lolo said.
"In this time of need; we must lend assistance to Samoa as we are one. American Samoa is on standby to offer any assistance to Samoa during this difficult time.
“We cannot sit idle while our brothers in Samoa are facing hardships. We must assist as we are one."
Directors of the fundraising committee included: Taimalelagi Dr. Claire Tuia Poumele, Cathy Saelua, Eseneiaso Liu, Faleosina Voigt, Dr. Oreta Crichton, Dr. Ruth Matagi Tofiga, Ruth Matagi Faatili, Malemo Tausaga, Muavaefa’atasi John Suisala, Tuimavave Tauapai Laupola and Pau Roy Ausage.