Due to the hurricane warning issued for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands ahead of the passage of Hurricane Irma, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, will ask President Donald Trump to declare a state of emergency for the Island prior to the disaster.
The decision was made following a meeting this morning with John Rabin, acting region administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Administration Region II (FEMA) and FEMA Caribbean Area Division Director, Alejandro De La Campa.
This measure will facilitate the disbursement of federal emergency funds, if necessary, after the hurricane passes through the local area, he said.
Rabin — who came to the island yesterday — said FEMA has more than 500 officials in Puerto Rico, a medical team, and search and rescue team to collaborate with the government of Puerto Rico in the event of an emergency.
The Puerto Rico State Agency for Emergency and Disaster Management (AEMEAD, per its Spanish acronym) reported that the Emergency Operations Center (COE, per its Spanish acronym) would be activated Wednesday at noon.
In addition, the governor signed an Executive Order to activate a temporary alcohol ban effective Wednesday at 6 a.m.
At the moment, the Puerto Rico Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO, per its Spanish acronym) has made 183 visits to establishments to verify compliance and has dispensed 22 notices of infraction to 22 establishments — 16 gas stations — for various regulatory infractions and two related to the orders of profit and prices.
Additionally, 189 infringement requirements have been issued.
Ernesto Morales of the National Weather Service said the first tropical storm effects will be experienced starting Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the East and North of the island. Six to eight inches of rain are expected, and up to 12 inches in isolated areas, he indicated.
After visiting several flood-prone areas in San Juan, Loíza and Culebra yesterday, Rosselló urged citizens to finish their contingency plans today and identify a shelter in the case of those citizens living in flood-prone areas.
The government has 456 shelters available with capacity for 63,229 people. AEMEAD reported that 156 shelters were activated at the request of the municipalities.
The Department of the Family and the Puerto Rico Police Department will collaborate to serve the homeless population that needs to move to a shelter.
In addition, starting today at noon, the (787) 771-6989 phone line will be activated to request information on the location of shelters, and the website temporadadehuracanes.pr.gov is also available.
Rosselló is expected to visit other municipalities on the island today to identify and tend first-hand to their needs.
The Department of Natural and Environmental Resources reported it is working with 14 pumping stations to prevent flooding. Also, agency brigades are working on the cleaning of channels and streams in Toa Baja, Cataño, Naguabo, and Adjuntas, following the requests of the municipalities.
In addition, equipment was rented to meet other requests from the Municipality of Patillas and future emergencies.
Starting today, ferry services between Fajardo, Vieques, and Culebra was suspended in response to a safety order by the Coast Guard. The last trips left Monday at 6:50 p.m. and it was informed that all tourists who needed to leave the island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra were mobilized.
The government sector will work until noon today to put into the action the plans for the protection of public property. Public schools and the University of Puerto Rico will not have classes today and will remain closed until weather conditions allw them to resume operations, after the imminent passage of the tropical system through the local area.
Meanwhile, the Customer Service line of the Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority (PRASA) will be operating from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and the line for people with audio disabilities was also made available: 787 679 7322. At the same time, there will be 200 trucks with 6,000-gallon water tanks available for the entire island.
It was also reported that beneficiaries of the Nutrition Assistance Program (PAN, per its Spanish acronym) with Social Security numbers 4, 5, and 6 would receive their payment today, which will benefit 190,242 additional families for a total of $47.8 million. In addition, 60 food distribution boxes were taken to Vieques on Tuesday. Beneficiaries can access www.asume.pr.gov, download the application, or call 787 274 -0111.
The Puerto Rico Department of Health indicated that clinical visits and selective surgeries will be performed today, but procedures scheduled for Wednesday were suspended. Patients should wait for a reprogramming call.
The Puerto Rico Administration of Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services (ASSMCA, per its Spanish acronym) reported that methadone services would be offered today from 5 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.