Ongoing hurricane recovery effort in Puerto Rico nets $100M in FEMA funds

Published on July 10, 2019 by Chris Galford

© Shutterstock

In the continuing struggle to revive Puerto Rico in the wake of 2017’s devastating Hurricane Maria, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has agreed to obligate $100 million to the Puerto Electric Power Authority (PREPA).

Hurricane Maria was one of the worst natural disasters on record to affect the Caribbean island, and the deadliest hurricane to hit the Atlantic since 2004. It is also the costliest hurricane to have ever hit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with damages estimated to be at least $90 billion according to the National Hurricane Center.

While millions have already been spent on recovery efforts, this latest obligation will go toward architectural and engineering design funding. It represents the single largest obligation for permanent work on damage linked to the hurricane. The goal is to make structures that will be more capable of withstanding future storms.

“We are proud of the collaboration between FEMA, the Government of Puerto Rico, and PREPA on this significant obligation of funds. Architectural and engineering designs will ensure that the billions of dollars planned to repair and rebuild Puerto Rico will make the island stronger and more resilient,” Jonathan Hoyes, Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico, said.

The cooperation between the island’s government and FEMA is focused on a variety of projects, including a hardened communication system, repairing thousands of damaged water facilities and improving the electric grid. This latest funding comes through FEMA’s Public Assistance program, though FEMA estimates it has, to date, obligated around $5.7 billion for Public Assistance costs in Puerto Rico overall.