Obama signs disaster declaration for 12 towns

President Obama declared a state of emergency for 12 towns affected by recent storms.

President Barack Obama signed Thursday an order declaring a state of emergency for 12 towns following an episode of severe storms that caused flooding, mudslides, and landslides from May 20 to June 8, 2011. The order makes it possible for Puerto Rico to receive federal aid to supplement the expenses incurred by the central and municipal governments.

The severe storms affected the municipalities of Añasco, Caguas, Camuy, Ciales, Hatillo, Las Piedras, Morovis, Orocovis, San Lorenzo, San Sebastián, Utuado, and Villalba.

“Federal funding is available to Commonwealth and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, flooding, mudslides, and landslides,” said the order released Thursday.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all towns.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator W. Craig Fugate, named Justo Hernández as the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.

FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the Commonwealth and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

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