FEMA approves disaster mitigation plan for San Juan

By John McPhaul

San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero Lugo announced Thursday the approval of the municipal Mitigation Plan by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which paves the way for the island capital to access federal funds that will allow the launch of several projects to support the mitigation of risks from previous natural disasters, as well as the reduction of losses in future disasters.

The review of the Mitigation Plan began at the end of January, to bring it into compliance with the requirements of the Puerto Rico Planning Board, prior to the approval of the Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience (COR3) and the subsequent approval of FEMA.

“This is great news for San Juan, particularly within the short window of time we had to review the Mitigation Plan. The approval will allow us to attend to different energy projects, water systems and other infrastructure that our capital requires to offer a better quality of life to all San Juan residents,” the mayor said in a written statement. “We thank the Planning Board, COR3 and FEMA for their support during this process and we reiterate our commitment so that these funds are used in a timely and responsible manner.”

The mayor indicated that among the energy and infrastructure projects under consideration is the Diagnosis and Treatment Center at San José Hospital.

The San Juan administration will also focus on flood control projects in areas such as the Cantera Peninsula, the eight communities surrounding the Caño Martín Peña (generally known as the G8 communities) and the ENLACE project, the Estuario de La Bahía (Bay Estuary), the Las Curías community, and Punta Las Marías and its environs.

The projects also cover areas of Puerto Nuevo and Santurce, such as Barrio Obrero, Playita and Shanghai.

The mitigation projects include several pumping stations that serve the flood control system, as well as improvements to the stormwater system.

With the Mitigation Plan approved, the municipality of San Juan will be able to access federal mitigation funds under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Section 404; and the Community Development Block Grant Program for both Disaster Recovery and Mitigation; as well as federal funds under Permanent Projects with Mitigation Funds from Section 406 of the Public Assistance Program.

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