The U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday it has released an additional $8.5 million in emergency funding to continue cleanup and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, which struck Puerto Rico in August 2011.
“Puerto Rico is still recovering from the damage and devastation of this massive storm,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The additional federal assistance announced today will enable the people of Puerto Rico to complete the hard work of cleanup and recovery.”
On Aug. 27, 2011, the Federal Emergency Management Agency declared the following 51 municipalities in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico eligible for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program: Adjuntas, Aguada, Aguas Buenas, Aibonito, Anasco, Arecibo, Arroyo, Barranquitas, Bayamon, Caguas, Canóvanas, Carolina, Catano, Cayey, Ceiba, Ciales, Cidra, Coamo, Comerio, Corozal, Culebra, Fajardo, Guayama, Guaynabo, Gurabo, Humacao, Jayuya, Juana Diaz, Juncos, Las Marias, Las Piedras, Luquillo, Maricao, Maunabo, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, Rincón, Rio Grande, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San Lorenzo, Santa Isabel, Trujillo Alto, Utuado, Vega Baja, Vieques, Villalba, Yabucoa and Yauco.
Following FEMA’s declaration, a National Emergency Grant was awarded on Sept. 28, 2011, for up to $12.8 million, with $4.2 million released initially. This week’s amount represents the remainder of the grant, Solis said.
National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor’s discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state’s ability to meet specific guidelines.