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FEMA extends deadline for Puerto Rico earthquake recovery projects

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved an extension for the deadline to complete permanent work projects related to the 2020 earthquakes in southwest Puerto Rico. The extension was requested by the island’s Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3) last week. The new deadline for project completion is now July 16, 2025.

COR3 Executive Director Manuel A. Rivera-Laboy cited several reasons for requesting the extension in his letter to FEMA. The original deadline of Jan. 16, 2024, was challenging due to a shortage of technically experienced resources, delays in procurement from a lack of eligible contractors, and the “overload that the Government of Puerto Rico is experiencing by managing several declared disasters at the same time,” according to FEMA’s news release. 

In its response, FEMA recognized the challenges leading to the extension. However, the agency emphasized that projects must be completed as quickly as possible. In addition to other requirements, FEMA requires both the recipient and subrecipients to provide accurate records and quarterly progress reports.

“It’s important that we continue a steady monitoring of every process related to the recovery of the earthquakes. Our main goal is to have projects and infrastructure that fulfill every updated building code, so we can have stronger structures that reduce risks in future disasters,” explained José G. Baquero, FEMA’s federal disaster recovery coordinator.

The permanent work projects are distributed across 14 municipalities included in the disaster declaration for Puerto Rico and are located mainly in the south and southwest regions.

To date, FEMA has allocated more than $418 million for more than 600 permanent work projects to repair infrastructure affected by the 2020 earthquakes.

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