Over 104,000 applications for FEMA relief
While over 60% of the island still doesn’t have telecommunication services available, the amount of applications for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has already surpassed 104,000, said the agency’s regional director, Alejandro de la Campa.
The total amount of applications increased by 32,000 in just one day; yesterday the number was around 72,000. According to the agency official, the increase in applications is due in large part to the arrival of brigades to the towns that still don’t have access to phone and internet.
In terms of approved public assistance for the island during this emergency state which resulted after Hurricane Maria made its way over the island nearly two weeks ago, De la Campa sustained that the total approved funding to municipalities is over $35 million and that number “keeps rising”, he assured.
Meanwhile, during a press conference at the Government Command Center a few hours before the arrival of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, the governor Ricardo Rosselló highlighted that among his objectives was the expedited reestablishment of water services on the island.
Currently, only 45% of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority’s (Prasa) subscribers have water, which is 2% less than yesterday. The governor attributed the reduction to a fault in the “super aqueduct”, which was supposed to be reestablished this morning.
Rosselló also recognized that the public corporation’s priority—Prasa was less affected that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa), which has only restored 6% of its services—was to restore operations in La Plata in order to cover 50% to 80% of its clients in the next few weeks.
The lines at gas station have continued to decrease. Now, 815 out of the 1,100 gas stations in Puerto Rico are currently operating, which represents 74% of the gas stations. Meanwhile 65% of supermarkets – 295 out of 456 around the island – are serving people looking for supplies.
Increase in the amount of refugees
The chief executive announced that the total amount of refugees increased to 9,343, although the amount of shelters has decreased to 137. According to Rosselló, the increase is due to many people losing their homes – many made out of wood and zinc—after Hurricane Maria passed as a category 4 storm on September 20.
Rosselló stated that they will be consolidating several shelters in order to reduce the total to 120 this week.