American Samoa

Taro ban, ‘a diplomacy issue’ -MAF Minister

Territorial officials had unilaterally imposed the ban 10-weeks ago after picking up reports on the social media claiming that a taro epidemic with similar drastic impacts as the taro plight or lega in Samoa was infiltrating local taro.

Taro samples from the alleged infected varieties sent Germany have found no such danger, says the Minister in an exclusive interview with this publication and TV1’s Tala Fou.

Laaulialemalietoa added that the test results reaffirm that the peculiar looking colors on the taro are normal and it has been around. 

New hospital on the cards in American Samoa

The executive director of the territory's only medical facility, LBJ hospital, is Taufete'e John Faumuina.

He told a US House subcommittee about the challenges faced by the centre, which is currently operating under a $US50 million budget.

Taufete'e said LBJ needed to address a number of issues and also offer better salaries to recruit doctors, nurses and other staff.

He said the hospital struggled acquire new equipment and to maintain its facilities, which were built in 1968.

2-Samoa talks scheduled for October in Apia

The meeting will be hosted by Samoa in Apia in early October.

A release from the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (MPMC) said the talks were scheduled for early next month.

However, American Samoa had communicated to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi requesting to postpone the meeting to October to allow the territorial government to finalise issues from their end to be tabled in the upcoming meeting.

As one of the three central government agencies, the MPMC is tasked as the implementing agency to organise the event.

Ban on taro from Samoa remains

The territory's director of agriculture, Filifa'atali Mike Fuiava, told a hearing in the Fono that the Samoa Ministry of Agriculture had still not received test results from Germany from samples of plants that had been infected with an unidentified disease.

Filifa'atali said until Samoa provided an analysis of the samples sent to Germany, the ban on taro would continue.

He said if an analysis was not forthcoming from the Samoa government then his officials would make a trip to see the problem for themselves.

American Samoa struggles with Samoa taro

The American Samoa director of agriculture, Filifa'atali Mike Fuiava, imposed the ban the week before last, pending tests to determine the disease causing mature taro to be deformed and inedible.

Meanwhile most stores and restaurants in the territory that used to rely on taro from Samoa, are being supplied by local farmers.

However one of the oldest stores on the western side of the island which has been getting taro from Apia has not sold taro since the ban was imposed.

American Samoa king tide warning

The National Weather Service says the tides over the weekend could reach 3.5 feet on Tutuila, the main island, and 5 feet in the Manu'a group.

Authorities are advising residents and drivers in coastal areas to be on the lookout and to secure their properties.


American Samoa ups efforts to curb drug use

Our correspondent Fili Sagapolutele said crystal meth is such a commonly used drug now that the taskforce was created to formulate strategies to curb the use of illicit drugs and narcotics.

Fili Sagapolutele said the statistics on illegal drug use in the Territory are outdated.

"They are working with the community and they've started to conduct outreach, working with government officials and village leaders, just in the hope to get this drug problem down.

"One of the issues that has come up recently is what are the statistics?"

American Samoan study says Zika defect risk falls during pregnancy

According to the CDC, the study showed during the first trimester, women in the US territories with confirmed Zika infection had a baby or fetus with Zika-related birth defects 8 percent of the time.

That frequency dropped to 5 percent in the second trimester and 4 percent in the third trimester.

The nine-month average was just over 5.5 percent.

The analysis is based on information from more than 2,500 women who completed their pregnancies last April in American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

Samoas discuss cyclone season

Delegates are also learning the latest science on the ozone layer.

And they will try to reach an agreement on a framework for co-operation between the two Samoas on the issuing of weather bulletins and disaster warnings.

RNZI reports this is the 15th year that the annual discussions between American Samoa and Samoa weather experts have been held.

The head of the Samoa Meteorological Service Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea said their work contributed to the quality of life of people in both countries.


American Samoa suspends import of Samoa taro and shoots

The director of agriculture Filifaatali Mike Fuiava said in a notice to the media today that he received information of an unknown virus breakout in Samoa affecting taro crops in the islands of Upolu and Savaii.

According to RNZI, reports from Samoa say that the disease is such that the taro shoot looks mature but when uprooted, the taro tuber itself has rotted away.

The director said he had to take every precautionary measure to make sure this unknown virus would not enter American Samoa.