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FEMA allocates $600K to address flooding in several Puerto Rico towns

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved nearly $600,000 for proposals submitted by several towns, including Dorado, Yabucoa and Loíza, to control or reduce the effects of flooding.

Climate change will cause more floods on the island, and experts like Carl Axel Soderberg, engineer and member of the Puerto Rico Committee of Experts and Advisors on Climate Change, believes an example of this prediction are the torrential rains that took place in early February, when up to 12 inches of rain were recorded in a very short time.

“Aware of the long-term risks, we have approved these mitigation projects that will help prevent loss of life and property. We also encourage that designs are focused on green infrastructure, nature-based solutions, and/or low-impact development techniques. This way, communities will be better prepared with the support of infrastructure that is friendly to the environment,” said FEMA’s Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator, José Baquero.

Through awards of some $230,000 for the municipality of Dorado, the communities of Doraville, Higuillar, Laguna I and Laguna II could benefit from flood control and flood risk reduction in their respective areas to prevent damage and significantly reduce the severe flooding they have experienced, some for decades.

The projects, which would benefit some 370 households, include the construction of water pumps with discharge piping to a nearby body of water. In addition, the improvement of the drainage systems and the replacement of the current conduits, some of which are too small for water that flows during heavy rainfall events, are also contemplated.

“These funds are destined for the studies and architectural design of the projects, to reduce the impact of flooding on communities and increase resilience,” said Dorado Mayor Carlos López-Rivera.

“We’re currently in the stage of requesting and awarding the proposals and we hope to soon be able to provide more safety to these families through these risk mitigation works,” he said.

Meanwhile, the municipality of Yabucoa is proposing a flood control project in the Comunas and Aguacate neighborhoods to benefit more than 670 homes, businesses, schools, and churches.

The proposal, with approximately $151,000 in funds, seeks to stabilize the soils, in addition to improving and extending more than 500 linear meters of sewers, and placing them away from eroded walls.

Other mitigation projects in the design phase and included in the total figure belong to the municipality of Loíza, which has some $217,000 in funds for these purposes. 

The first phase — for which projects have already been approved — will be to carry out the planning and design of the proposals. This phase will be financed entirely with funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

“The COR3 team continues to develop proposals, together with the municipalities, for projects like these, which will support risk mitigation efforts. These works will provide security to citizens and their communities in extreme rain events that, as we know, cause severe damage, and endanger life and property,” said Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency Executive Director Manuel A. Laboy.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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