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Friday, June 9th, 2023

FEMA details Hazard Mitigation Grant Program projects in Puerto Rico

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced that $122 million has been earmarked for 35 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program projects in Puerto Rico.

“Some of these projects also address equity and climate change since they aim to ensure that all people have the same protections regardless of the area in which they reside, as well as incorporate new regulations for the future, taking into account what the trends in climate change reveal,” Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator José G. Baquero said.

Authorities noted the Puerto Rico Planning Board maintains island floods represent billions in losses and place 200,000 residences in flood-prone areas at risk – adding climate change has been linked to erosion, landslides, floods, and other catastrophes.

According to FEMA, the funds will address projects such as residents and retailers in the Piel Canela Boulevard area in Coamo receiving a larger capacity stormwater drainage system, with the initial phase of the project representing over $340,000 for engineering services and topographic and geotechnical studies to strengthen the area.

“This project serves to correct the management of stormwater runoff that comes down from different parts of the town and falls in this lower sector, which is Piel Canela Boulevard,” Coamo Mayor Juan Carlos García Padilla said. “These funds give us the opportunity to solve the problem and avoid flooding in the future that will affect the economy, sports, and the lives of those who pass through the area.”

Additionally, officials noted another project example is $279,000 being allocated to install piping in the Santa María community in San Germán, of which $28,000 was approved for the initial phase.

“The impact of FEMA funds on channel repair in this community is extremely positive,” San Germán Mayor Virgilio Olivera Olivera said.