The U.S Second Gentleman has pledged more aid for disaster risk reduction in Samoa as he met Women in Business Development Inc representatives on Monday as part of a five-hour visit.

The husband of the U.S Vice President Kamala Harris, Douglas Emhoff arrived in Samoa a day later than scheduled which meant his visit to the island nation was cut short.

He arrived at the Faleolo International Airport where he was greeted by the Associate Minister of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Manuleleua Paletasala Tovale.

Emhoff was then escorted by police motorcade with tight security upon arrival with his first stop at the Government Building to briefly meet with the Acting Prime Minister, Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio.

He later took a tour of the Women in Business Development Incorporation (WIBDI) at Nuu where he delivered a speech before his departure.

At the event at Nuu, he announced a USD$2.6 million grant from USAID – the aid agency for the U.S government – for disaster risk reduction for Samoa and other Pacific countries.

He noted the U.S stands with the Pacific partners in tackling the climate crisis head-on.

“These funds will help local farmers improve their resilience against disasters and help improve messaging around preparedness,” he said. “This builds on the great work Samoa is already doing, alongside our friends and partners, to prepare for emergencies. The United States would like to further support Samoa and listen to its needs, such as the threat of tsunamis.

“On that note, I am announcing today that the U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will provide additional expertise to the Pacific Islands to assess risks and prepare plans. This includes committing US$117,000 to work with Samoa.”

Emhoff said the U.S. was proud to invest in Samoan women and families through the W.IB.D.I. and its programs. He thanked the organisation for everything they do to promote economic development and will continue to invest in their work.

He also spoke about President Joe Biden and Vice President Harris’ fight to empower women and girls both at home and abroad.

“My wife has spent her career fighting for women and children as a prosecutor, a United States Senator, and now as Vice President,” he said. “I’ve seen Kamala all around the world from Southeast Asia to the continent of Africa meeting with women entrepreneurs and investing in them because she knows, when you lift up women, you lift up the status of families and communities, and all of society benefits.”

He added President Biden and Vice President Harris are also committed to deepening U.S engagement throughout the Pacific region and referred to last July when his wife participated in the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders summit and announced an expanded U.S. diplomatic presence.

In September last year, President Biden hosted the first-ever U.S-Pacific Island Country Summit at the White House. He also announced USD$810 million in additional investments for the region.

“Since then, the Biden-Harris Administration announced our plan to invest over USD$7.2 billion in new funding and programmes for the region.

“And President Biden and Vice President Harris are looking forward to welcoming Pacific Island leaders back to Washington for a second Summit later this year.”

Emhoff left Samoa on Monday afternoon to fly back to Washington D.C.