FEMA: Hurricane Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico Continue
Obligations for 124 projects total $19 million
SAN JUAN – FEMA and the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, or COR3, have obligated nearly $19 million in funds for 124 projects related to the recovery and reconstruction of Puerto Rico due to Hurricane María.
During May, 501 projects were approved, 426 of which were for municipalities.
FEMA works with COR3 through the agency’s Public Assistance program to obligate recovery funds to private nonprofit organizations, municipalities and agencies of the Government of Puerto Rico for expenses related to hurricanes Irma and María. To date, nearly $6.8 billion has been approved for Puerto Rico under the program.
The new funding obligations, which took place May 22-28, includes nearly $519,000 for repairs to Peñuelas’ Convention Center. The center served as a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center during the Hurricane María response and as a commodities distribution site in emergencies. The repairs will include the striping and repainting of the exterior of the building and replacing interior doors, among other repairs, “that support economic local activity given the center accounts for over 300 indirect jobs for the south region and for the municipality,” FEMA said in its press release.
Similarly, more than $423,000 was approved for the municipality of Comerío. These funds will be used to repair the Manuel Espina basketball court located in Barrio Palomas. This court also serves as a community center for the 5,000 residents of Comerío that live in this community and that “will benefit from the preparedness activities that will take place here, amid the beginning of the hurricane season,” the agency explained.
“This basketball court will serve as a food and commodities distribution center. For us, it is of unmeasurable value to be able to have access to the resources needed to build-up the court to optimal conditions, allowing us to appropriately meet the needs of the community,” said José A “Josian” Santiago, the mayor of Comerío.
Meanwhile, the agency approved more than $14,000 for repairs to the Judith Seda Matos municipal electronic library located in Maricao. The projects for repairs and content replacement in this library, built to provide high-speed internet access, include the replacement of an IBM server.
The Mayor of Maricao, Gilberto Perez Valentín, expressed that this project is of the utmost importance to the municipality. “This project holds a very positive impact because many students will have access to not only do their homework, but to also get to know about our history, the history on when, how, and who founded Maricao. All Maricao residents benefit from the library,” he added.
To lessen the effects of future disasters, part of the funds will be used for mitigation.
“This is achieved by implementing building codes as well as by reinforcing roofs, doors and windows to prevent water filtration. Waterproofing systems, soil stabilization and the installation of anchors for air conditioning systems and compressors are some examples of how the municipalities of Peñuelas, Comerío and Maricao will include mitigation with their projects,” FEMA said.
The latest grants obligated are as follows:
• Over $6.4 million for repairs to parks and recreational facilities.
• Over $4.3 million for repairs to roads and bridges.
• Over $4.1 million for repairs to public buildings and equipment.
• Over $2.6 million for emergency protective measures.
• Nearly $484,000 for debris removal.
• Nearly $435,000 to municipalities and government agencies for administrative costs.
• Nearly $92,000 for water control facilities.
• Over $84,000 for public utilities.