Puerto Rico (The United States of America)

Over $23 million in disaster aid approved for Puerto Rico

News and Press Release
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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Federal and Commonwealth recovery officials announced today that more than $23 million in disaster aid has been approved for Puerto Rico residents in the form of grants to cover damages related to severe storms and flooding which occurred from September 21 to October 3, 2008.

Below is an update of disaster recovery activities through the close of business on Thursday, December 4, 2008.

- 37,032 households and business owners have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

- $23,092,140 in grants has been approved to individuals and households by FEMA and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

- 30,031 people have visited 14 Disaster Recovery Centers in Cabo Rojo, Guayama, Humacao, Juncos, Las Piedras, Maunabo, Naguabo, Patillas, Peñuelas, Ponce, Salinas, Santa Isabel, Villalba, and Yabucoa.

- 29,152 residences have been visited by Community Relations teams. These teams go door-to-door encouraging residents to apply for federal disaster assistance and answer questions about the application process.

- 34,700 homes have been inspected to verify for disaster-related damages.

- 7, 217 low-interest, long-term loan applications have been issued from the Small Business Administration to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes. SBA encourages those who received an application to return it as soon as possible for consideration of assistance.

- January 15, 2009 is the new extended deadline to register for federal disaster assistance with FEMA.

- 15 Long Term Recovery Committees (LRTC), which include representatives of voluntary, faith-based, civic, and community, who join municipal agencies in each community, assist individuals and families with unmet disaster-related needs. The LRTCs are established in Salinas, Yabucoa, Guayama, Maunabo, Santa Isabel, Yauco, Peñuelas, Guánica, Patillas, Cabo Rojo, Arroyo, Ponce, Juncos, San Lorenzo and Gurabo.

On December 3, 2008, in Yabucoa, the Coalición Para Ayudar a Personas sin Hogar del Este de PR, in collaboration with Fundación Comunitaria de PR, distributed checks of $400.00 to 48 families from the municipalities of Yabucoa and Maunabo, which were identified by the LRTCs.

Residents who have not registered for assistance are encouraged to apply by calling 1-800-621-3362 - use option 2 for Spanish (TTY 800-462-7585) - or by going online at www.FEMA.gov/spanish. Starting Monday, December, 8, 2008, both lines will be available seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. until further notice.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.