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Additional $63M in Aid Approved for Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico San Juan

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resilience announced an additional $63 million in aid will be sent to Puerto Rico. 

Funds will be used for 56 projects related to the recovery and reconstruction of the island as it works to rebuild following January’s earthquakes and Hurricane Maria. 

More than $6.2 billion has been approved for Puerto Rico under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. 

“FEMA and [Central Office for Recovery and Reconstruction] remain focused on prioritizing obligations of funds to municipalities for eligible expenses related to hurricanes Irma and Maria to help communities recover,” FEMA stated in a release. 

The agency also states many projects during this phase of the recovery are for architectural and engineering design, which may open the door to funding opportunities for larger projects in the future. 

FEMA says funds help to reduce the “damage-rebuild-damage” cycle that comes with restoring structures to pre-disaster conditions. 

The Associated Press reported last month that Puerto Rico’s government hopes to relocate all of the families impacted by January’s magnitude 6.4 earthquake that destroyed or damaged nearly 1,700 homes.

Ongoing tremors have forced re-inspections of more than 7,000 homes that engineers already visited. 

“We know we still have a lot of work ahead of us,” Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez said. “No one was prepared.”

The report states that a total of 4,600 people remain in shelters along Puerto Rico’s southern coast. 

Vasquez, however, said the majority did not report any damage in their house and were scared to return home due to continuing shakes. 

Three hundred homes were destroyed and another 1,390 damaged by the quake, according to the Associated Press. 

Alex Amparo, Puerto Rico’s coordinating officer, said $3.8 million has been approved to help affected by the quake. 

Information from Global Property Guide found that the island’s housing market is recovering, as its seasonally-adjusted purchase-only house price index rose 10.59% year-over-year as of Q3 2019. Quarter over quarter, though, house prices fell by 2.66% in Q3 2019.

About Author: Mike Albanese

Mike Albanese is a reporter for DS News and MReport. He is a University of Alabama graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in communications. He has worked for publications—both print and online—covering numerous beats. A Connecticut native, Albanese currently resides in Lewisville.

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