FEMA Obligates Over $18.7 Million for 146 Projects Related to Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Recovery
Federal coordinator: Agency is prepared to offer support ‘while remaining focused on moving the island’s recovery efforts forward’
SAN JUAN — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Puerto Rico’s Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience (COR3) have obligated an additional $18.7 million in funds for 146 projects related to the recovery and reconstruction of Puerto Rico after the 2017 hurricane season.
Funding for permanent work includes projects like roads, bridges, water control,buildings and equipment, utilities and park and recreation facilities as authorized under Section 406 of the Robert T. Stafford Act.
FEMA works with COR3 through the agency’s Public Assistance program to obligate recovery funds to private nonprofit organizations, municipalities and government agencies for expenses related to hurricanes Irma and María.
The agency said it remains focused on Puerto Rico’s recovery and on approving funds for permanent work projects despite the social distancing and self-quarantine measures on the island to slow the spread of the new coronavirus disease.
“We have taken the necessary precautions to preserve our workforce and with over 92 percent of our staff being local, we are prepared to support the Government of Puerto Rico during this time while remaining focused on moving the island’s recovery efforts forward,” said the federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alex Amparo.
The latest grants, obligated between March 7 and March 19, are as follows:
- Over $8 million for repairs to roads and bridges.
- Nearly $4 million for repairs to parks and recreational facilities.
- Nearly $3 million for emergency protective measures.
- Over $2.6 million for repairs to public buildings and equipment.
- Over $1 million for debris removal.
- Over $62,700 for public utilities.
- Over $19,400 to municipalities and government agencies for administrative costs.
In FEMA’s release, COR3 Executive Director Ottmar Chávez commented that “despite having to modify our way of doing business during this time, we have taken the necessary measures to continue our work, especially maintaining constant communications and leveraging every technological tool at our disposal so as not to interrupt the recovery process. The team at COR3 is committed and dedicated to ensuring projects are developed and funds are obligated.”
Included in these obligations is more than $1 million for repairs to several roads and a bridge in Yauco. Over $850,000 was approved for repairs to the Ají Road located in Barrio Duey and another $107,000 was awarded to address hurricane-related damage to the El Chapulín bridge in Barrio Barinas. Nearly $60,000 was obligated as well for architecture and engineering design costs for repairs to other roads and for culvert replacement.
“These obligations are very important for Yauco. This will help us offer better access to our communities. Right now, this is of great help to our city,” said the mayor of Yauco, Luigi Torres.
Among the obligations for repairs to public buildings are over $508,000 for repairs to the Guayama Theatre located in the town square. The work includes replacing carpets and seats on the mezzanine as well as repairs to dressing rooms, the lobby area, main theatre room, roof and entrance. A total of more than $7.9 million has been obligated to the municipality so far, representing 23 projects that address hurricane-related damage to roads, bridges, public buildings and recreational facilities and other work.
To date, nearly $6.5 billion has been approved for Puerto Rico under FEMA’s Public Assistance program.