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Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria (DR-4339)

Incident Period: September 17, 2017 - November 15, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on September 20, 2017

Individual Assistance Applications
Approved: 461,046

Total Individual & Households Program
Dollars Approved: $1,205,961,205.87

Total Public Assistance Grants
Dollars Obligated: $3,044,622,934.91

Designated Counties (Individual Assistance):

Adjuntas, Aguada, Aguadilla, Aguas Buenas, Aibonito, Anasco, Arecibo, Arroyo, Barceloneta, Barranquitas, Bayamon, Cabo Rojo, Caguas, Camuy, Canovanas, Carolina, Catano, Cayey, Ceiba, Ciales, Cidra, Coamo, Comerio, Corozal, Culebra, Dorado, Fajardo, Florida, Guanica, Guayama, Guayanilla, Guaynabo, Gurabo, Hatillo, Hormigueros, Humacao, Isabela, Jayuya, Juana Diaz, Juncos, Lajas, Lares, Las Marias, Las Piedras, Loiza, Luquillo, Manati, Maricao, Maunabo, Mayaguez, Moca, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, Patillas, Penuelas, Ponce, Quebradillas, Rincon, Rio Grande, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San German, San Juan, San Lorenzo, San Sebastian, Santa Isabel, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Trujillo Alto, Utuado, Vega Alta, Vega Baja, Vieques, Villalba, Yabucoa, Yauco

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Quick Links:

 


Disaster Assistance Resources

 

  July 1Don’t wait to make your reservations.

FEMA Helpline
800-621-FEMA (3362)
800-462-7585 (TTY)

  • You have 60 days to appeal a FEMA decision after you
    receive a determination in eligibility

Salvation Army
787-999-7000 (PR)
703-684-5500 (USA)

  • Mobile feeding unit for rescue workers and survivors
  • Help with clothing, food, shelter, spiritual and medical needs

Tu Hogar Renace (STEP)
855-675-4480

  • Check the status of your application

 

 

United Way
211 (USA)

  • Supplemental food
  • Housing option and utility assistance
  • Employment and educational opportunities

Disaster Case Management
855-742-5993

  • FEMA appeals process
  • Create a goal-oriented plan for recovery
  • Develop a permanent housing plan

VALOR

  • Contact your local church or voluntary agency
  • Coordinate with agency to help with basic home repairs

 

 

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
800-659-2955

  • Complete your low-interest disaster loan application

 

 

 

U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD)
787-766-5400 (PR)
202-708-1112 (FL)

  • Mortgage insurance for homeowners after a disaster
  • Housing counseling through approved agencies
  • Loans to repair and rebuild homes

American Red Cross
800-Red Cross (800-733-2767) (USA)
787-758-8150 (PR)

  • Financial assistance for households
  • Medical assistance
  • Open shelters

 

Crisis Counseling
800-447-1985

  • Individual and group counseling

 

 

 

 

Events & Deadlines

Puerto Rico

  • Deadlines
    • August 30, 2018 - Transitional Sheltering Assistance program deadline for eligible Hurricane Irma and María survivors.
    • August 30, 2018 - Transportation Assistance program deadline for eligible Hurricane Irma and Maria survivors on the U.S. mainland.                          

Events

  • August 2 - 5, 2018 - Casa Segura "Safe House" Campaign in Plaza as Americas. Hato Rey.

 

Hurricane Preparedness

The 2017 hurricane season was one of the most devastating and costly on record. Regardless of when they form and the geographic location they hit, hurricanes leave a path of destruction for everyone to repair. In situations like these, the only thing we can do is make sure we prepare for the hurricane before it arrives.

Now is the time to prepare for hurricane season.

How FEMA Can Help You

Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is available to help individuals and families affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria take care of necessary expenses and serious needs that are not covered by insurance or other forms of assistance.

Assistance may include:

  • Personal Property: Assistance to repair or replace common household items including furnishings and appliances.
  • Assistance to pay for medical or dental expenses caused by the disaster. This includes hospital and ambulance services, and medication replacement.
  • Assistance for expenses incurred due to a death caused by the disaster. Expenses include the cost of a casket or urn and funeral services.
  • Assistance for increased child care costs for children aged 13 and under, or children with a disability aged 14 to 18.
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: Assistance to purchase specific items approved by the State, Tribe or Territory. They may include items such as a wet/dry vacuum, chainsaw, or dehumidifier.
  • Moving and Storage Expenses: Assistance to temporarily relocate and store personal property from the damaged primary residence while repairs are made.

Housing assistance may be provided in the form of:

  • Rental Assistance: Financial assistance to rent temporary housing while disaster-caused repairs are made to your primary residence, or while you move to permanent housing.
  • Home Repair: Financial assistance to homeowners to repair uninsured home damage caused by the disaster. The assistance is intended to repair your home to a safe and sanitary living or functioning condition.
  • Home Replacement: Financial assistance for homeowners who must replace or rebuild their primary residence as a result of the disaster.

FEMA also provides grants to Puerto Rico that can help individuals and families with needs including:

  • Crisis Counseling: Assists individuals and communities recovered from the effects of a disaster through community-based outreach and educational services.
  • Disaster Legal Services: Provides free legal assistance to low income individuals who are unable to secure legal services to meet their disaster-related needs. Those affected by the disaster in Puerto Rico can call 1-800-310-7029 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. local time Monday through Friday.
  • Disaster Case Management Program: Program to establish a partnership between a case manager and disaster survivor to develop a Disaster Recovery Plan for the survivor to address disaster-caused unmet needs.

The U.S. Small Business Administration also offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners and renters. You do not need to own a business to apply for a disaster loan.

For more information about applying for a disaster loan or about assistance from other federal partners, visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or call 1-800-621-3362.

Programs Available to Puerto Ricans in the Continental U.S.

Displaced Survivors Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA)is currently available to eligible survivors who are currently in the Continental United States. Qualified disaster survivors may be eligible to stay in an approved hotel or motel for a limited period of time.

If you need Rental Assistance:

We will provide rental assistance directly to disaster survivors, who are then responsible for finding available rental resources of their choosing. The amount of monthly rental assistance available to survivors who evacuated to the Continental United States depends upon the county or parish where the survivor has relocated following Hurricane Maria. That is why it is so important to keep your contact information updated with FEMA.

Important inspection information for survivors in the U.S.

  • We are allowing survivors to verbally designate a local point of contact or representative to act on their behalf, if they are unable to be present for an inspection.
  • If you have been contacted by an inspector, let the inspector know who your local point of contact is and how the inspector can contact them.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will also accept a local representative in order to install a blue roof on a survivor’s home. Survivors who are unable to physically sign up for the Blue Roof Program, or provide a right of entry form, because they are displaced should call 888-766-3258.

State Resources: (Access to different assistance programs)

Disaster Recovery Centers:

Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC)

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are accessible facilities and mobile offices you can visit to learn more about FEMA and other disaster assistance programs. You may also visit to ask questions about your case. DRCs are set up in convenient areas after a disaster to make them easier to find. The DRC Locator helps you find the hours, services, and locations of DRCs near you.

A DRC may be able to help you:

  • Learn more about disaster assistance programs.
  • Learn the status of your FEMA application. Check your status online at www.disasterassistance.gov/ or by phone 1-800-621-3362.
  • Understand any letters you get from FEMA.
  • Find housing and rental assistance information.
  • Get answers to questions or resolve problems.
  • Get referrals to agencies that may offer other assistance.
  • Learn about Small Business Administration (SBA) programs.

What to Expect After You Apply

Once homeowners register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a FEMA housing inspector will call to schedule an inspection for those living in designated counties. Here’s what survivors need to know about the inspection process:

 What to expect after you apply for FEMA aid. You may receive an application to apply for a low-interest long-term SBA loan. Completing the SBA loan application is an important step in finding out what aid may be available to you. As a homeowner you may borrow up to $200,000 to repair/replace your primary residence, and up to $40,000 to repair/replace personal property. You are not required to accept the loan in order to receive FEMA assistance, but it may enable you to be considered for additional types of assistance. An inspector will contact you to schedule a visit. Be ready to keep your scheduled appointment. Appointments take 30-40 minutes and you must be present. Contact your insurance agent if you have insurance. Prove your identity. Show these documents:-Photo ID: driver’s license or passport.-Proof of occupancy: lease or utility bill.-Proof of ownership: deed, title, mortgage payment book, or tax receipts.(*This is not an exhaustive list.) During the Inspector’s VisitInspectors will…-wear official FEMA ID badges.-confirm your disaster registration number.-review structural and personal property damages.-ask you to sign official documentation.-verify ownership and occupancy. Inspectors won’t….-determine eligibility.-cost any money.-ask for credit card information.-take the place of an insurance inspection. After the Inspector’s visit….You will be sent a decision letter. If approved for aid:-You will receive a check or an electronic funds transfer.-A follow-up letter will explain how the money can be used. If you have questions regarding the letter, you can visit a Disaster Recovery Center in your area (fema.gov/drc) or call us at 800-621-3362 (711/Video Relay Service). For TTY, call 800-462-7585.

Everyone should know:

  • The FEMA inspector will show a photo ID badge.
  • If you are not shown photo identification, then do not allow the inspection.
  • If you suspect someone is posing as a FEMA inspector, call your local law enforcement agency.
  • You may receive visits from more than one inspector. Other inspectors may represent federal, state, parish and local government agencies, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the National Flood Insurance Program and/or insurance companies.
  • Representatives of volunteer agencies may contact you to offer their services.

Before the FEMA inspection, it’s important that you know:

  • An adult 18 or older who lived in the residence before the disaster must be present for the inspection.
  • That person must have the following documents:
    • Photo identification;
    • Proof of ownership and occupancy of the damaged residence such as: property tax bill; mortgage payment bill or receipt, or utility service bill;
    • Homeowner and vehicle insurance documents;
    • List of persons living in residence at time of disaster that you compiled; and
    • List of disaster damage to the home and its contents that you compiled.

How to Appeal a FEMA Decision

Applicants have a right to appeal any FEMA decision.

Some survivors who registered for federal disaster assistance may have received a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that says they are ineligible. The reason for the decision may be something that can be easily fixed, such as providing insurance documents or new contact information.

All appeals must be made in the form of a signed letter within 60 days of the date on the determination letter.

What to do if you disagree with FEMA’s decision letter1. Read the letter carefully to find out why the decision was made.Do you need to provide additional information?• Insurance determination letter.• Proof of occupancy or ownership.• Proof of ID.• Applicant’s signature.Common reasons for the initial decision:• The damage was to a secondary home or a rental property, not a primary residence.• Someone else in the household applied and received assistance.• Disaster-related losses could not be verified.• Insurance covered all losses.2. Contact FEMA for help with filing an appeal or any questions.Call800-621-3362 (711 or Video Relay Service available)800-462-7585 (TTY)VisitA Disaster Recovery Center3. File a written appeal.Explain why you think the decision was not correct.• Provide supporting information and documents.• Include your FEMA registration number on all documents.• Sign the letter.Mail or fax your appeal within 60 days of the decision letter date, or drop it off at a Disaster Recovery Center.

When survivors apply for individual disaster assistance through FEMA, their needs are assessed based on a number of factors, including eligibility requirements laid out under federal law.  Sometimes people do not qualify for financial help right away. Some of the reasons for an initial turn down can be:

  • You might not have gotten your insurance settlement;
  • You may not have given FEMA all the information we need;
  • You haven’t given us proof of ownership or residence;
  • You may not have returned the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan application;
  • You may not have provided records that showed the damaged property was the primary residence at the time of the disaster;
  • You may not have signed essential documents.

Read your letter carefully. FEMA may only need you to provide additional information. Your appeal should include new or missing information, documents and damage repair estimates that support the appeal request. If it isn’t clear, or more information is needed, a specialist at the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711, video relay service) can help. TTY users can call 800-462-7585. The toll-free lines are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

It is important to date the appeal letter and mail it to the following address:

Appeals may also be faxed to: 1-800-827-8112, Attention: FEMA. You can also call the helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585.

Everyone should read their letters carefully, ask questions, ask for help, and tell us if you think we got it wrong. We are here to serve you – the disaster survivor – and it is your right to ask us to reconsider our decision.

Clean-Up Tips

The government of Puerto Rico and the Federal Emergency Management Agency offer the following tips to homeowners and renters while cleaning their homes. 

Volunteers performing a clean-up debris in a residence.

Before cleaning, survivors should:

  • Take photos of damage before you begin the clean-up process.  Be sure to include photos or videos of the outside and inside of the building, including damaged personal property, and label them by room before you remove anything.  If you have insurance, be sure to photograph the make, model and serial number for appliances such as washers, dryers, hot water heaters, kitchen appliances, TVs and computers.
  • Save all repair receipts.
  • If you have insurance, separate damaged items from undamaged items.  The insurance adjuster will need to document damaged items when conducting an inspection.  If possible, keep samples of carpet, flooring, wallpaper, drapes, etc.
  • Throw away flood-damaged items that pose a health risk.  After taking photos, immediately throw away flood-damaged items that pose a health risk after coming into contact with flood waters, such as perishable food, clothing, cushions and pillows.

When salvaging and cleaning up hurricane damaged property:

  • Always wear protective clothing.  This includes long-sleeved shirts, long pants, rubber or plastic gloves and waterproof boots or shoes.
  • Take wet items outside.  Your home could be contaminated with mold, which may raise the health risk for those with asthma, allergies and breathing conditions. For detailed tips on cleaning mold safely, visit the Center for Disease Control’s site at https://www.cdc.gov/mold/cleanup.htm.
  • Clean all hard surfaces and items with bleach.  If possible, wash wet fabrics in hot water.
  • Use caution when entering your home.  Before entering your residence, look around the outside for damaged power lines, gas lines and other structural damage.  If able, open doors and windows so your house can air out before spending any length of time inside.
  • Watch for sharp objects such as protruding nails and screws, aluminum, and broken glass.
  • Turn off main electrical power and water systems. Don’t use gas appliances until a professional can inspect them.
  • Check all ceilings and floors for signs of sagging or other potentially dangerous structural damage.  Remove all drywall and insulation that has been in contact with flood waters.
  • Throw out any items that cannot be cleaned.  This includes items like mattresses, carpeting, stuffed animals that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected.

If you have insurance, report your damage from the hurricane to your insurance company as soon as possible.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Areas

If you have the following items, please bring them to your local EPA Collection Site so they can be disposed properly.

HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTES:

  • Oils – including car and household oils
  • Batteries – car/truck batteries, rechargeable, disposable
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Oil based paints and paint thinners
  • Household cleaners and solvents such as bleach (Clorox), ammonia, degreasers and others
  • Compressed gas cylinders
  • Aerosol cans (spray) 

ELECTRONICS:

  • Televisions
  • Computers
  • Printers
  • Radios
  • Stereos
  • DVD players
  • Electronic games
  • Telephones

Construction Techniques to Minimize Damage

FEMA has prepared six Recovery Advisories in English and Spanish to describe mitigation measures that can be taken to minimize building damage.

A Mitigation Assessment Team was deployed to Puerto Rico in response to Hurricane Maria to evaluate the performance of buildings and infrastructure. Recovery Advisories are based on these field observations and provide information to assist with rebuilding decisions in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes as well as any future flooding or high wind events. This guidance is intended for homeowners, designers, building owners and officials, architects, engineers, and contractors; however, can provide helpful information for other stakeholders as well.

For more information visit the following links:
U.S. Virgin Islands

Puerto Rico

 

Be Aware of Fraud and Other Scams

Survivors of Hurricane Maria are urged to be aware of con artists trying to rip them off by claiming they will register them or help obtain disaster relief.

Inspectors and representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or other agencies that work with you to register you for assistance will have identification.

Relief agencies warn individual survivors and homeowners that bogus contractors and scam artists may target them during disaster recoveries.

A common fraud involves people posing as representatives of FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Government workers never ask for a fee or payment. They always wear official government photo IDs.

Relief officials say survivors can take these steps to protect against fraud:

  • Before any work begins, get a written contract detailing all work to be performed, the costs, a projected completion date and how to negotiate changes and settle disputes.
  • Take a picture of your contractor, his vehicle and its license plate.
  • Take a picture of the contractor’s business card and his driver’s license.
  • Don’t offer personal financial information over the phone. Know who you are dealing with. Ask for identification.
  • Watch out for middlemen who promise you will receive disaster grants or money, especially if they ask for an upfront payment.

The job of FEMA housing inspectors is to verify damage. Inspectors do not hire or endorse specific contractors to fix homes or recommend repairs. They do not determine eligibility for assistance.                 

If you suspect anyone – an inspector, disaster survivor or someone posing as one of these – of fraudulent activities, call the free FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, the SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955, or local law enforcement.   

If you received a letter from us indicating that your application for disaster assistance is under investigation for fraud, read it carefully. Applications may be under investigation for different reasons, such as a possible error when registering.

Call the FEMA helpline within 30 days from the date of the letter to discuss your situation. If you DID apply for assistance, we can make sure your application information is correct and updated.

If you DID NOT apply for assistance, please let us know that the case may be fraudulent. Call the helpline to speak to a representative by dialing 1-800-621-3362 (711 or VRS available), or 1-800-462-7585 for TTY.

Safety Tips

Flood

  • If you encounter flood waters, remember – turn around, don’t drown. Don't drive through a flooded area.
  • Avoid debris, downed power lines, and flood water, which may be electrically charged and hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away. Avoid downed power or utility lines as they may be live with deadly voltage. Stay away and report them immediately to your power or utility company.
  • Emergency workers may be assisting people in flooded areas or cleaning up debris. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way as much as possible.
  • If your home has flood water inside or around it, don’t walk or wade in it.The water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage.
  • If you have a flooded basement in your home, never attempt to turn off power or operate circuit breakers while standing in water.

Generators

  • If your power is out, safely use a generator or battery-operated flashlights.
  • Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open.
  • Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner's manual and follow the instructions.
  • Avoid plugging emergency generators into electric outlets or hooking them directly to your home's electrical system – they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.

Water Safety

Do:

  • Do make water safe by boiling for three minutes, and let cool.
  • Do use clean, sanitized containers to store safe water or reuse jugs used to store potable water.
  • Do wash hands with soap and safe water or water that has been boiled.

Don’t:

  • Don’t drink water from streams, rivers, or creeks.
  • Don’t store water in containers that previously held laundry detergent or other unsafe chemicals.

For more information on making water safe in emergencies, please visit:
https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/drinking/making-water-safe.html

How to Help

For Hurricane Maria, there are three ways that the public can most effectively and efficiently help provide support for survivors in Puerto Rico.

*FEMA does not transport donations collected by local, tribal, territorial or state government or collected by private sector, non-governmental organizations, or NVOAD from point of collection to impacted areas.

 How to help after a disaster. The best way to help is with cash donations to trusted organizations. · Cash is efficient, flexible to use, and requires no packaging or transport. · Trusted organizations will ensure your money goes to help those in need.FEMA does not transport donations, please work with a trusted organization.

To help people affected by the storm, visit @nvoad’s page for a listed of trusted organizations. To help, remember:

The fastest way to help – cash is best

The most effective means to support recovery of communities affected by Hurricane Maria is to donate money to trusted voluntary-, faith- and community-based charitable organizations. This gives these organizations the ability to purchase what survivors need right now. In addition, when these organizations purchase goods or services locally, they pump money back into the local and regional economy, helping businesses recover faster.

Donating Goods

It is important to remember unsolicited donated goods (e.g., clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs) require voluntary agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.  

  • To responsibly donate goods, the NVOAD website has information on non-profit organizations accepting or registering individual and corporate in-kind donations.
  • If you would like to give in-kind donations, coordinate with NVOAD organizations to identify the best ways to pick up and drop off your donations.

Volunteering

Anyone seeking an opportunity to get involved in response and recovery operations underway is encouraged to volunteer with local and nationally known organizations.

  • To register as an affiliated volunteer with a voluntary or charitable organization, visit the National VOAD for a list of partners active in disaster.

Thank you for your interest in helping the survivors of Hurricane Maria. When disaster strikes, America looks to FEMA to support survivors and first responders in communities all across the country. We are currently seeking talented and hard-working people to help support the hurricane response and recovery efforts.

Video Resources

  • Browse through our library of disaster recovery video resources for people with disabilities.
  • The Center For Disease Prevention (CDC) has additional informational videos in American Sign Language that are captioned in Spanish.

Contact Us

 Visit disasterassistance.gov to update and track your application. Make changes in person at a disaster recovery center. Find one near you at fema.gov/DRC. Give us a call at 800-621-3362 (711 or Video Relay Service available) or 800-462-7585 (TTY). You can also check your local post office for your FEMA letter. They may be holding your mail until all delivery services are available.

If you haven’t heard from us after applying for assistance, you may need to update your contact information. If you changed your address or phone, even temporarily, be sure to let us know.

Here is how:

FEMA Helpline

Contact the FEMA Helpline if you have questions about:

  • The help offered by FEMA.
  • How to apply for assistance.
  • Information in your account.

Call 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, 7 days a week:

Or write to:

FEMA
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are accessible meeting places set up after a disaster. There you can learn about FEMA or other assistance programs. You may also ask questions about your case or seek guidance on other disaster-related issues. The services offered at each DRC may vary.

Find a DRC near you:

  • Use the DRC Locator to find addresses and DRC details. Find info hours of operation, services offered, and driving directions.

Media Contacts

For media inquiries in Puerto Rico, call FEMA Puerto Rico News Desk at (866) 366-8807.

For other inquiries, visit FEMA's Media Contacts or call 202-646-3272.

Financial Assistance

Individual Assistance - Dollars Approved

$1,205,961,205.87

Total Individual & Households Program (IHP) - Dollars Approved*

$672,192,316.73

Total Housing Assistance (HA) - Dollars Approved*

$533,768,889.14

Total Other Needs Assistance (ONA) - Dollars Approved*

461,046

Total Individual Assistance (IA) - Applications Approved*

Public Assistance - Dollars Approved

$3,044,622,934.91

Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) - Dollars Obligated✝

$2,877,329,696.47

Emergency Work (Categories A-B) - Dollars Obligated✝

$136,271,955.34

Permanent Work (Categories C-G) - Dollars Obligated✝

* Dollars Approved: Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.
✝ Dollars Obligated: Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA's final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

Learn more about FEMA Disaster definitions. Information is updated every 24 hours.

Preliminary Damage Assessment Report

PDA Report; FEMA-4339-DR

Last Updated: 2017-12-06 05:00