By The Star Staff
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved an extension of the existing deadline to complete permanent work projects related to the 2020 Earthquakes, as requested last week by the Puerto Rico Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3). The new date for project completion is July 16, 2025.
According to the request letter from COR3 Executive Director Manuel A. Rivera Laboy, some of the reasons for requesting a deadline extension — which expired on January 16, 2024 — are the lack of resources with the technical experience necessary to complete the work; the delays in procurement due to the lack of eligible contractors; and the overload that the Government of Puerto Rico is experiencing by managing several declared disasters at the same time.
In its response letter to COR3, FEMA acknowledged the circumstances and conditions that have led to the extension but highlighted that projects must be completed as quickly as possible. Therefore, in addition to other requirements, both the recipient and subrecipients must submit accurate records and reports to FEMA through quarterly progress reports.
“It’s important that we continue a steady monitoring of every process related to the recovery of the earthquakes. Our main goal is to have projects and infrastructure that fulfill every updated building code, so we can have stronger structures that reduce risks in future disasters,” explained FEMA’s Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator José G. Baquero.
The permanent work projects related to the earthquakes are distributed in 14 municipalities included in the disaster declaration for Puerto Rico and are located mainly in the south and southwest region of the island.
To date, FEMA has allocated over $418 million for over 600 permanent work projects to repair infrastructure affected by the 2020 earthquakes in Puerto Rico.