Friday, December 13, 2019

Foundation for Puerto Rico calls for participation in resiliency planning

By on March 8, 2019

Begins touring island to receive input from communities, provide guidance

Foundation for Puerto Rico COO Annie Mayol, standing on right, discusses the WCRP program in Culebra. (Courtesy)

SAN JUAN – Foundation for Puerto Rico (FPR) has begun visiting communities around the island to listen to and inform the public and organizations involved in the Whole Community Resilience Planning (WCRP) program, which was established as part of the island’s Disaster Recovery Action Plan.

The foundation was tasked with developing comprehensive recovery strategies for communities affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria. It was assigned $37.5 million as part of the Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Action Plan for the WCRP. The federal funding was allocated via the U.S. and Puerto Rico housing departments.

Foundation is seeking to produce locally driven planning by providing opportunities for direct involvement in how the communities are rebuilt in a way that increases their preparedness and reduces their vulnerability to future disasters. Its objective is to integrate the needs, desires and resources of the residents in the reconstruction or relocation solutions.

The first phase of WCRP entails data collection and initial analysis, technical training and outreach to communities for input regarding the needs of each community and providing information about the program. The meetings will lay the groundwork for the next phase of housing recovery.

In the second phase, communities may apply for funding and receive up to $500,000 per community plan. Communities may submit plans through an NGO, with assistance from professional planning firms and developers. Planning may include “examining structural mitigation measures at either a community or individual house level, housing innovation, and effective land-use,” according to the disaster plan.

Regional planning and coordination, the plan adds, “are highly encouraged and municipios are encouraged to examine the needs of special communities. Plans should include a consideration of hazard risk as part of their assessment.”

The first community meeting was held Wednesday in the island-municipality of Culebra, where more than 20 members of organizations attended, including Mujeres de Islas, Proyecto Siembra, Proyecto Launch, Arte para SanArte, Asociación Educativa, Organización Green Culebra, Organización El Legado and Iglesia Episcopal Puertorriqueña.

“An integral part of the Program is to involve the communities, listen to them, provide the information they need so they can participate and know what the process and aid will be to design their resiliency plans. These methods will allow them to be prepared for future emergencies, especially high-risk communities,” the foundation’s president and COO, Annie Mayol, explained.

During March and April, the foundation will be traveling around the island as part of its Ruta a la Resiliencia, or Road to Resilience, tour. It will be holding two meetings in each region–as per the colors on the map below–one with nonprofit organizations and another with the municipalities.

The following are the next scheduled community meetings:

March 12 – Proyecto PECES in Humacao
March 19 – Vieques
March 20 – C3Tec in Caguas
March 22 – CMTAS in Yauco

In a press release, the foundation urged individuals and organizations interested in participating to email wcrp@foundationpr.org. It added that the dates for other upcoming meetings will be announced this month as well.

Foundation for Puerto Rico starts emergency resilience program

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