FEMA disaster assistance now available to Citizens of Freely Associated States

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Flags of island countries in Micronesia: (from left) the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Republic of Palau. Citizens of these island nations are now eligible to receive federal disaster assistance. Screen grab from US Department of Interior website

Citizens of the Freely Associated States, whose primary residences on Maui were affected by the August wildfires and high winds, may now apply for wildfire disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Recently, President Biden signed into law the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2024. The legislation extended federal benefits to COFA citizens who were previously ineligible to apply for FEMA assistance, including grants. Among them are citizens of the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

The FEMA disaster application period opened Monday, only to those COFA citizens who legally resided in the United States and had a primary home on Maui that was affected by the wildfires. The deadline for disaster assistance applications is May 31. 


To apply, COFA citizens may call 808-784-1952 or visit the Lahaina Disaster Recovery Center at the Lahaina Civic Center located at 1840 Honoapi‘ilani Highway. Phone lines and recovery center hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday; and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The center is closed Sundays.

Whether COFA citizens apply by phone or at the Disaster Recovery Center, interpreters are available to help applicants in their preferred languages, including Marshallese, Chuukese, Kosraean, Palauan, Carolinian, Chamorro and American Sign Language. 

FEMA’s disaster survivor assistance specialists on Maui are available to help COFA citizens apply for FEMA assistance.


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