The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, or COR3, obligated roughly $95.4 million for 552 projects during April – more than the total number of projects approved between the months of January and September 2019 combined, they confirmed.
Municipalities across the island received the bulk of these obligations for a total of 458 permanent work projects.
About $38.4 million of these funds were obligated during the last week of the month for 155 projects related to the recovery and reconstruction of Puerto Rico due to Hurricane María.
As social distancing and self-quarantine measures continue on the island and residents in the south are faced with new challenges related to the earthquakes that occurred during the weekend, the agency’s focus remains on moving recovery forward, it said.
“In coordination with COR3, we set some lofty project obligation goals and we are not only reaching them, we are surpassing them. The commitment of the FEMA team on the island is unwavering, even as we continue to face new challenges along the way,” said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alex Amparo.
The latest grants obligated are as follows:
- More than $21.2 million for repairs to public buildings and equipment;
- More than $7 million for repairs to roads and bridges;
- Nearly $5.1 million for repairs to parks and recreational facilities;
- More than $3.6 million for emergency protective measures;
- Nearly $847,000 for debris removal;
- More than $297,000 for water control facilities;
- Nearly $203,000 to municipalities and government agencies for administrative costs; and,
- More than $107,000 for public utilities.
“We have exceeded a thousand federal obligations for permanent work projects in the past 10 months. Once again, we thank FEMA for the support provided to Puerto Rico during this reconstruction phase,” said COR3 Executive Director Ottmar Chavez.
“The collaboration spirit in the work that we are doing has been key in moving forward and the people of Puerto Rico will be most benefited of the results,” he said.
During the last week of April, obligations included nearly $500,000 to the municipality of Coamo for repairs to several municipal streets, like asphalt resurfacing and concrete gutter replacement. The repairs will benefit the 400 families living in the urbanizations of Paraíso de Coamo, Mansiones de Coamo and Fuentes de Coamo. To date, nearly $7.2 million has been obligated for 41 permanent work projects in Coamo.
“Puerto Rico is experiencing difficult times, including facing a pandemic, but the municipality of Coamo and FEMA have continued developing reconstruction projects related to Hurricane María and today we announce that funding was obligated for these projects. These are just some of the many others that have been approved previously,” said Coamo Mayor Juan Carlos García-Padilla.
The weekly obligations also include more than $49,000 for repairs to the Yolanda Guerrero Cultural Center located in Barrio Pueblo in the municipality of Guaynabo. Besides being used for a variety of communal activities, the center also served as the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center during the response and well into the recovery of Hurricane María.
Thousands of Guaynabo residents and other survivors frequented the center for disaster assistance from FEMA and other federal agencies and nonprofits.
“With these funds we will perform the permanent improvements to this facility that has been the meeting place for cultural, educational and entertainment events, as well as during times when it has served as a location to offer support services to families, as with Hurricane María,” said Guaynabo Mayor Ángel A. Pérez.