SAN JUAN, P.R. -- FEMA/Commonwealth disaster recovery officials announced today that the Lajas Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will close operations on Saturday, January 17, 2004 at 6 p.m. The Disaster Recovery Centers service the residents who sustained losses or damage as a result of the rains, floods and mudslides that occurred on November 10-23, 2003.
“Nevertheless, FEMA services will be as close as a telephone call away,” said Justo Hernández, federal coordinating officer for the recovery effort. “Residents who have already registered for state and federal disaster assistance can call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 to receive information about the assistance process or provide updates to their application,” said Hernández. Hearing or speech impaired individuals can call TTY: 1-800-462-7585. Applicants can call Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Residents who have not registered should do so, as soon as possible, by calling the toll-free registration line at 1-800-621-3362. The last day to register for individual and family federal disaster aid programs is Tuesday, January 20, 2004.
Applicants with disaster assistance inquiries may call the FEMA line, 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585) or visit the nearest DRC. The DRCs are currently located in the municipalities of Aibonito, Canóvanas, Fajardo, Guánica, Guayama, Juana Diaz, Naranjito, Patillas, Rio Grande, Salinas and Yabucoa, operating Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., until further notice.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.