Monday, June 1, 2020

FEMA: Over $123 Million Obligated for 346 Projects during March

By on March 31, 2020

Including 279 projects for municipalities

SAN JUAN – As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Puerto Rico’s Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, or COR3, continue recovery efforts, the agency said Tuesday that “an unprecedented” 346 projects were approved during March. These projects represent $123.9 million in funds for recovery work related to hurricane María.  

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.

Between March 20 and March 26, the agency obligated an additional $62.8 million in funds for 67 projects.

The latest grants obligated are as follows:

  • Over $52.6 million for repairs to parks and recreational facilities.
  • Over $3.7 million for repairs to public buildings and equipment.
  • Nearly $4 million for repairs to roads and bridges.
  • Over $2.5 million for emergency protective measures.
  • Over $71,500 for debris removal.

“Our staff on the island are your neighbors, your brothers and sisters and your friends. Puerto Rico’s recovery is their top priority. This historic number of project obligations is proof of our ongoing commitment, in spite of the many challenges along the way. Each of us is doing our part to make sure the jewel of the Caribbean shines once again,” said newly named Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alex Amparo.

“Right now, as we are in the middle of recovering from an unprecedented disaster and those recovery efforts are ongoing, facing new situations has led to more effective communication and coordination between COR3 and FEMA. By the same token, both teams have put alternatives in place to increase and accelerate the approval of funds for these projects,” said COR3’s executive director, Ottmar Chávez Piñero.

Part of the funds approved for parks and recreational facilities include over $51 million for the Puerto Rico Department of Sports and Recreation. About $48 million will go to 191 different parks and recreational facilities across 45 municipalities.

“This $48 million obligation is the result of two years of joint efforts between the municipalities, COR3 and FEMA to develop a way to group multiple facilities that require less complex construction in order to accelerate the claims and disbursement of funds process. With this, by way of a unique process, we were able to include 191 facilities in the claims process and, with this, we will be able to initiate the procurement process and subsequent construction of all the structures simultaneously,” said the secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Sports and Recreation, Adriana Sánchez Parés.

In addition, another $3.4 million was approved to restore the Fuentes Pinete Park in Loíza. This facility includes a baseball field, a basketball court and other areas that sustained damage. Repairs include work on the light poles, interior lighting and other electric components.  

Other obligations include about $1.7 million to restore Barceloneta’s municipal building, over $88,000 to repair a bridge in the Pelegrín Santos sector in Cidra and roughly $62,000 for repairs to the Department of Agriculture building in Maricao.

To date, over $6.5 billion has been approved for Puerto Rico under FEMA’s Public Assistance program.

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