According to Peter Brown, the White House special representative for Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery, the pace of federally funded projects to help hurricane and earthquake victims has quickened. However, according to Yahoo News, Brown is worried about long term efforts.
“The reputation seems to lag the reality. The reality is improving,” Brown said, adding that he will report to President Donald Trump upon his return to the U.S. mainland. “I think he will be convinced that federal money and federal efforts is being spent wisely here.”
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 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.
According to Brown, it will take years for Puerto Rico to recover from the hurricane and earthquakes.
“My main concern is sustainability,” he said. “This is not a one-time injection of money into the economy or infrastructure of Puerto Rico... Continuity is vital.”
Alex Amparo, Puerto Rico’s coordinating officer, said $3.8 million has been approved to help affected by the quake.
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