Disaster Aid for Puerto Rico Tops $395.2 Million for Damages Following Jeanne

December 28, 2004

Disaster recovery officials announced recently that FEMA has already approved more than $390.7 million in assistance to more than 153,000 individuals and families in Puerto Rico.

Fifty-eight municipalities were declared disaster area making them eligible for federal aid to help meet the recovery needs of residents and business owners that were affected in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Jeanne.

“FEMA’s continuing commitment is not only to help meet the recovery needs of devastated families and businesses, but to ensure that the vital infrastructure they depend on is restored as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Peter Martinasco.

On Sept. 17, 2004 President Bush issued a major disaster declaration making available federal funding for the state and affected municipalities for the damaged infrastructure. In view of that, FEMA has already approved $4,544,577 to reimburse the Commonwealth for infrastructure damages caused by the storm under the Public Assistance (PA) program.

Under the PA program the declared areas may be eligible for a 75 percent federal reimbursement of the approved costs incurred in emergency work related to the disaster, such as protective measures, debris removal, and the repair, replacement or restoration of flood-damaged public facilities, such as roads and bridges, buildings, parks, water control facilities and utilities. Certain private non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for this type of federal assistance, as well.

As of last week, 109 applicants were approved for this FEMA aid, from which 77 were municipal governments and 32 Commonwealth agencies. This aid is made available following damage assessments performed by federal and Commonwealth disaster recovery officials. The requests for infrastructure disaster aid are processed as soon as the projects and supporting documentation are submitted to FEMA for evaluation and final determination.

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