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FEMA makes 8 new Puerto Rico towns eligible for individual assistance

Eight more municipalities that were affected by the earthquakes that began in December in Puerto Rico have been designated as eligible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual Assistance program.

At the request of the government of Puerto Rico, FEMA extended eligibility for disaster assistance to Aguada, Añasco, Barceloneta, Coamo, Moca, Naranjito, Salinas and Santa Isabel.

“I’m very grateful to FEMA for accepting our request so that more municipalities can benefit from the Individual Assistance program,” said Gov. Wanda Vázquez.

“The constant communication and the seriousness with which we have dealt with these issues have been essential for the federal government to reestablish their confidence in us. These results are direct benefits for the people of Puerto Rico,” she said.

Twenty-five municipalities were previously approved: Adjuntas, Arecibo, Cabo Rojo, Ciales, Corozal, Guánica, Guayanilla, Hormigueros, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Lajas, Lares, Las Marías, Maricao, Mayagüez, Morovis, Orocovis, Peñuelas, Ponce, Sabana Grande, San Germán, San Sebastián, Utuado, Villalba and Yauco.

“As this disaster has unfolded, we have continued to see new communities and survivors impacted by the earthquakes in Puerto Rico,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Alex Amparo.

“I’m pleased to announce that survivors who have received damage to their homes in these newly designated municipalities are now eligible to apply for a wide variety of federal funding including rental assistance, housing repair and replacement as well as other needs assistance which can greatly increase the speed of their recovery,” he said.

If a person has suffered damage during the earthquakes that began Dec. 28 and continued through Feb. 4 and is are a resident of any of the 33 municipalities, they can now apply for FEMA disaster assistance.

Disaster assistance for homeowners and renters may include grants to help pay for temporary housing and essential home repairs as well as disaster-related needs such as personal property, medical, dental and funeral expenses, transportation, childcare, moving and storage.

Affected residents must apply directly with FEMA to be considered for disaster assistance, the agency said. FEMA grants can add to what is available from the Government of Puerto Rico and therefore require a separate application.

There are several ways to apply:

  • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov or DisasterAssistance.gov/es for Spanish.
  • By phone at 800-621-3362 (FEMA) or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Multilingual operators are available. Press 2 for Spanish. Press 3 for other languages. Lines are open from 8 a.m. to midnight daily.
  • Use the FEMA Mobile App in English or the app in Spanish.
  • In person with a FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance team member. Teams are going door-to-door near your home and also visiting shelters.
  • At any Disaster Recovery Center. Visit FEMA.gov/DRC to find the closest center or text “DRC” and the ZIP code to 43362. All centers are accessible.

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

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