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FEMA allocates 8K projects worth $25.6B in recovery projects

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it has approved some $25.6 billion in federal funds for more than 8,000 recovery projects associated with the damages Hurricane María caused in Puerto Rico in 2017.

The total projects with funds allocated so far includes debris removal and emergency protection measures granted at the beginning of the recovery, and permanent work and administrative expenses for municipalities and government agencies.

The allocations also cover projects for nonprofit organizations, the agency said.

“At FEMA, our commitment to the rebuilding and recovery of Puerto Rico is seen every time we allocate funds for a project, with every stone that is laid to reconstruct a building and with every road that is now safer and stronger. These awards cover all categories of permanent work, such as education, health, historic buildings, roads and bridges, sports and recreational facilities, among others,” said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico José G. Baquero.

One of the nonprofit organizations with approved funding of more than $300,000 is Hogar Ruth, a shelter that has been providing services to survivors of domestic violence since 1984.

“During 2020 a total of 6,575 participants received our services. One of the most difficult challenges for any nonprofit organization is to be able to access funds that allow for reconstruction,” said Lisdel Flores-Barger, the shelter’s executive director.

“Without access to these funds, it would have been impossible to return to the normalcy required after what we went through,” Flores-Barger said.

Meanwhile, the allocations cover close to $56 million for 54 projects of the Health Department. The most recent award is for nearly $53 million to carry out permanent work at the Public Health Laboratory located at the Río Piedras Medical Center. HIV tests are performed there, as well as other specialized services such as microbiology.

In terms of bridge and road repairs, nearly $1.2 billion has been approved to strengthen the transportation infrastructure throughout Puerto Rico. The funds for hazard mitigation measures are intended to strengthen this sector — one of the most affected by the hurricane — to allow for efficient evacuation and delivery of supplies during future disasters.

In addition, funds have been approved to bring back the luster to municipal and community recreational facilities around the island.

In this classification are some $18.4 million allocated for permanent repairs already completed at the renowned Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium in Carolina, as previously reported.

This sports venue, which has been the scene of important international competitions, also fulfills a social function by serving as a center for receiving and distributing donations for disasters, FEMA said.

Mass vaccinations and now COVID-19 tests have also been carried out there.

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

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