San Juan, PR -- Puerto Rico farmers who sustained damage as a result of the floods and mudslides that occurred from May 6 to 11, may be eligible for a variety of federal disaster assistance programs.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has emergency loans available at 3.75 percent to farmers for physical losses and agricultural production. To register for a low-interest loan, visit your local USDA/Farm Service Agency office or call the central office at 787-294-1613. The following municipalities have until January 2002 to apply for an emergency loan:
Adjuntas, Aguadilla, Aguada, A?asco, Cabo Rojo, Camuy, Gu?nica, Guayanilla, Hatillo, Hormigueros, Isabela, Lajas, Lares, Las Mar?as, Maricao, Mayaguez, Moca, Pe?uelas, Ponce, Rinc?n, Sabana Grande, San Germ?n, San Sebasti?n, Utuado, and Yauco.
Farmers may contact their local USDA/FSA office at the following numbers:
Adjuntas, 829-2030; Arecibo, 878-2580; Barranquitas, 857-3940; Caguas, 743-2203; Jayuya, 828-5253; Lares, 897-4610; Mayaguez, 831-3328, Ponce, 841-3136; Utuado, 894-4657.
Under this presidential declaration, the SBA has low-interest physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to small agriculture-dependent businesses and small agricultural cooperatives that suffered losses due to the floods or mudslides. People with questions about eligibility for disaster loans may call the SBA office at 1-800-659-2955, or visit an SBA loan officer at any of the Disaster Recovery Centers.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges farmers residing in Adjuntas, Cabo Rojo, Gu?nica, Guayanilla, Lajas, Rinc?n, San Germ?n, Sabana Grande and Yauco and whose primary homes were damaged or made uninhabitable due to the floods to apply for disaster housing assistance. Residents can register by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-462-9029. Bilingual operators are available to take calls from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Persons who are hearing impaired may call (TTY) 1-800-462-7585.