The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced the appointment of José G. Baquero as the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for disaster recovery operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Baquero will permanently lead disaster recovery coordination and collaboration between the federal interagency and the government of Puerto Rico, the private sector and voluntary, faith-based and community organizations.
He replaces current Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator Alex Amparo, who will return to support FEMA in Washington, D.C. His role on the island “was pivotal in leading the disaster recovery efforts for Hurricane María as well as the response missions for the earthquakes, COVID-19 pandemic and Tropical Storms Isaías and Laura,” the agency said in a statement.
“Our partnership over the last year with mayors, COR3 and the government of Puerto Rico has paved the way for the island’s long-term recovery. Baquero’s permanent appointment is another indicator that our mission on the island is on track and that the operation is ready for the road ahead,” said Amparo.
For the past 15 years, Baquero led the Transportation Security Administration office for Puerto Rico and the USVI. Throughout his career he has also worked as a private attorney, and at the local and federal government level. Baquero is born and raised in Puerto Rico and is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico School of Law.
“It’s a privilege to serve my island in this capacity. I look forward to being part of this historic recovery mission and to carry on with the outstanding work done by Amparo and the team as our efforts to help rebuild for the benefit of the people of Puerto Rico continue,” Baquero said.
Amparo and Baquero will work together in the coming weeks to ensure an effective transition of duties, the agency confirmed.
To date, more than $7.2 billion has been obligated under FEMA’s Public Assistance program for costs related to hurricanes Irma and María, including projects to help rebuild infrastructure throughout Puerto Rico.