SAN JUAN, P.R. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today the approval of $1,858,765 million to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for the acquisition of sixty-eight (68) properties. The funds are being designated to the Municipality of Ponce under FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).
“This mitigation project will help reduce landslide related long-term risks to people and property in the Ponce area,” said Alejandro De La Campa, DHS/ FEMA Disaster Recovery Manager. “FEMA continues working closely with Commonwealth and municipal officials supporting this life-saving, cost-effective and viable project.”
With a total project cost of $2,478,353, the Municipality of Ponce will provide $619,588 corresponding to the 25% non-Federal share.
The approved project includes the acquisition and demolition of sixty-eight damaged residential properties located at the Tamarindo, Ferran, and Los Chinos communities of the Municipality of Ponce. The demolition of all the structures will occur within ninety days from the date of the acquisition.
The properties were damaged by the extensive rains and landslides events which affected Puerto Rico on October 9-15, 2005. After a scientific investigation performed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on the area, the USGS determined that the communities are located in a high landslide risk zone.
Under the HMGP property acquisition program, homeowners’ participation is voluntary. After purchasing the homes, the municipal government will maintain the land as open space on which no structures can be built.
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to States and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration, to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters, and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.