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News > Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Asks Washington for More Post-Earthquake Aid

  • A home is seen collapsed after an earthquake in Guanica, Puerto Rico Jan. 7, 2020.

    A home is seen collapsed after an earthquake in Guanica, Puerto Rico Jan. 7, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 February 2020

Authorities said that, during the development of inspections, big damages to infrastructure and property were identified, which will require not only emergency protection measures, but also permanent measures to prevent such debris.

The United States Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resilience (COR3) requested this Tuesday the U.S. government to extend to nine other municipalities the Major Disaster Declaration for Puerto Rico signed by President Donald Trump.

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Following preliminary damage assessments about the Jan. 7 earthquakes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Pete Gaynor was asked to grant individual assistance to the municipalities of Arecibo, Ciales, Hormigueros, Juana Diaz, Las Marias, Mayagüez, Morovis, Orocovis, and Sabana Grande.

The Major Disaster Declaration due to the earthquakes is already providing individual assistance for Adjuntas, Cabo Rojo, Corozal, Guanica, Guayanilla, Jayuya, Lajas, Lares, Maricao, Peñuelas, Ponce, San German, San Sebastian, Utuado, Villalba and Yauco municipalities.

FEMA's Individual Assistance Program provides financial aid for those affected who have incurred expenses on account of the seismic sequences that began on Dec. 28, 2019, and that have not had insurance coverage, so housing and other needs can be included.

COR3's Executive Director Ottmar Chavez requested the federal agency to broaden public assistance in categories C to G for the towns of Guanica, Guayanilla, Peñuelas, Ponce, San German, and Yauco, in addition to the extension of a Major Disaster Declaration and subsidy in the categories from A to G for the municipalities of Adjuntas, Jayuya, Juana Diaz, Lajas, Las Marias, Mayagüez, Sabana Grande, and Utuado.

"We were able to verify that the needs identified," Chavez explained, "go beyond the capacities of the State and at the local level without additional federal assistance due to the damage caused by Hurricane Maria, as well as the magnitude of the damage triggered by recent earthquakes.

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