March 18, 2008

By Kim Walz, (510) 627-7006

OAKLAND, Ca.-Federal Officials announced today that The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) Region IX is sending a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) Team to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to evaluate the severe coastal erosion and storm surge flooding on the islands of Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk from November, 2007 through February, 2008.

The PDA is the process used to determine the impact and magnitude of damage caused by a disaster. It summarizes resulting needs of individuals, businesses, public sector, and community as a whole.

The assessment team reviews the types of damage or emergency costs incurred by the state, and the impact to critical facilities, such as: public utilities, hospitals, schools, and fire and police departments. They will also look at the affect on individuals and businesses, including the extent of the damage, the number of people displaced, and the threat to health and safety caused by the incident.

This unique preliminary damage assessment team-which is also assessing the impact of drought on island agriculture and water table issues--is comprised of personnel from FEMA, FSM and state emergency management agency officials, local officials, the U.S. Small Business Administration, a water specialist from the United States Geological Survey, and an agricultural specialist from the United States Forest Service.

The PDA is considered, along with several other factors, in determining whether a disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments, and that Federal aid is necessary. The PDA is typically used as a basis for the Governor's request for a major disaster when it shows the cost of the response efforts, such as emergency personnel overtime, other emergency services, and damage to citizens is beyond state and local recovery capabilities. The President considers the PDA as one of the factors in making a determination whether to declare a major disaster in response to the Governor's request. ###

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.