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Good water.- Amid a growing demand from mayors, Governor Pedro Pierluisi clarified this Thursday that 23 municipalities excluded from personal assistance benefits can request the federal agency after approving a major disaster declaration. Providing documentation and evidence to support its request – through the Government of Puerto Rico – for its admission to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
His administration requested 78 municipalities for FEMA assistance — both public assistance and individual assistance — but the federal agency has decided to provide individual assistance to only 55 municipalities, directly benefiting individuals or families affected by the hurricane. . He noted that the parameter FEMA used for its decision was whether the municipality received 10 inches of rain or more with the hurricane. Instead, public assistance was approved for 78 municipalities and sent to the government and municipalities.
“The only thing that happened is that at this point in the event, FEMA used a metric of rainfall and the 55 that were included for individual assistance were the 55 municipalities that received, on average, 10 inches of rain or more. That doesn’t mean that those who weren’t included are excluded forever. No, not at all,” Pierluzzi said.
“What you need to do now is submit preliminary evidence of damage to communities in excluded municipalities so that FEMA can reconsider that decision,” he added.
The governor made his statements during a tour of the city of Aguas Buenos, where 16 families have been quarantined in Los Corianos department, Delfas department and Mula neighborhoods, said Mayor Carina Nieves Serrano.
Pierluisi noted that he discussed with FEMA Administrator Dean Criswell the need for “greater flexibility” with the decision to include the island’s 78 municipalities in the individual assistance program. Criswell is still in Puerto Rico and this afternoon he is scheduled to participate in a computer session led by US President Joe Biden, which Pierluzzi will also attend.
Contrary to what a FEMA official in Washington initially said, the Pierluisi administration did not request an individual assistance program for only 55 municipalities after Hurricane Fiona hit.
“FEMA makes that decision. We’re requesting public and private assistance for 78 (municipalities). It’s FEMA… when FEMA provides private assistance, FEMA needs more. So, what they used was a metric of 10 inches or more, and using that metric, 55 municipalities automatically have been added”, reaffirmed the first administrator.
For the questions New dayHe expressed hope that if the mayors excluded from the project request assistance, the work will be done quickly.
“I hope they will act as soon as possible. The important thing here is that municipalities submit evidence of damage in their jurisdiction to COR3 (Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience) or to the Emergency Management Commissioner (Nino Correa),” he stressed.
He realized that in some cities, within the same municipality, the amount of rainfall varies from sector to sector.
Wait to know about the purpose of the help
Regarding the scope of the major disaster declaration, Pierluisi said he did not have that information yet. This means his administration has asked Biden to provide 100% aid for 30 days under both programs. In other words, the assistance provided by FEMA is not matched for that period, usually FEMA provides 90% of the assistance and the remaining 10% goes to the applicant.
Similarly, Pierluisi said, “within days,” FEMA should provide and announce a list of disaster recovery centers where people can apply for assistance. It is also said that FEMA teams will be available to visit the affected communities. FEMA indicated this Thursday that they are working on that list.
Asked if the government would have the money to match, the governor replied in the affirmative, saying the state had emergency funds and “own resources” and so did the municipalities.
Still, mayors expressed their annoyance with FEMA’s determination.
San Germain’s mayor Virgilio Oliveira was one of the first to raise his hand. He said he contacted the governor directly in writing.
“He assured me that he had already informed FEMA of the situation and that the current reality of San German and other municipalities in the western part of Puerto Rico would be evaluated so that we could be included,” the mayor said.
The municipalities included in the disaster declaration for personal assistance are Adjuntas, Aguas Buenos, Ibonito, Arroyo, Barranquitas, Bayamon, Caguas, Canovanas, Carolina, Caetano, Caye, Ceiba, Cialas, Citra, Como, Comerio, Dorado, Fajr Florida, Guayama, Guanilla, Guanabo, Curacao, Humacao, Juya, Juana Diaz, Juncos, Lares, Las Piedras, Luquillo, Maricao, Maunabo, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, Batillas, Penulas, Grant, Raisolas, Grant, Raisolas Juan, San Lorenzo, Santa Isabel, Do Alta, Do Baja, Trujillo Alto, Uduado, Vega Alta, Vega Baja, Vics, Villalba, Yabucoa and Yaco.
Concerned mayors also complained about the neglect.
“Our position is that all municipalities should be included for social assistance and for individual assistance. We have already had the bitter experience of the so-called post-Maria recovery, and we are advocating for Puerto Rico as a whole. We are not going to accept discrimination against anyone,” said Luis Javier Hernández, mayor of Villalba and president of the Association of Mayors. .
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