FEMA expands disaster declaration to include Loíza, Vieques & Culebra
By The Star Staff
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Wednesday that the major disaster declaration issued on Sept. 21 has been amended to include the municipalities of Loíza, Vieques and Culebra for permanent work (Categories C-G).
Those municipalities are already designated for individual assistance (IA) and assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures (Categories A and B), including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance (PA) program. With the addition, all 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico are now eligible to apply for reimbursement of permanent eligible work, including repairs to roads, bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and equipment, public utilities, parks, and recreational and other facilities.
The Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience (COR3) Executive Director Manuel Laboy Rivera expressed gratitude for the inclusion of the three towns in the major disaster declaration after the impact of Hurricane Fiona. He also recognized the work done by the COR3 team, which he said was important in ensuring that all municipalities can soon begin to formulate their projects for permanent works.
On Nov. 21, President Biden announced the federal share for public assistance had been increased to 90 percent of total eligible costs, except assistance previously approved at 100 percent, to further supplement territorial and local recovery costs after Hurricane Fiona.
“The expansion of permanent work reimbursement to three additional municipalities demonstrates FEMA’s full support for the Government of Puerto Rico and our local partners across the island as rebuilding continues,” Federal Coordinating Officer Nancy Casper said. “We’re committed to getting federal disaster assistance dollars into these communities, so they’re available when needed the most.”
The PA grant program supports communities’ recovery from major disasters with assistance for debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures and restoring public infrastructure.