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One Year After: Hurricane Fiona Survivors Awarded Over $646 Million in Disaster Assistance

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Release Date:
septembre 13, 2023

San Juan, Puerto Rico — FEMA awarded over $646 million in Individual Assistance (IA) grants to survivors, since Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico almost a year ago. More than 740,000 households have received disaster assistance funding to repair and rebuild damaged homes.

“It’s been a year since Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico and we have had a close and direct working relationship with federal agencies and the Biden-Harris Administration, including FEMA in particular. We have been working together for the well-being of the residents of our Island and the results are evidence by the disbursement of approximately $646 million of Individual Assistance to 740,000 households, as well as other funds allocated for permanent work in our infrastructure. I reiterate my gratitude to FEMA and know that we will continue this collaborative work on the reconstruction of Puerto Rico”, Governor, Pedro R. Pierluisi said.

To further address the needs of underserved communities during Hurricane Fiona recovery efforts, FEMA implemented an equity-based outreach program called Enhanced Applicant Services, where IA specialists completed thousands of targeted callouts to survivors who required additional support to successfully navigate the IA program. As a result of this survivor-centric plan, over $14.7 million have been approved in disaster assistance for people who may have been found ineligible.

“When survivors apply for disaster assistance, sometimes they may overlook important documentation that is required for the qualification process. This innovative approach demonstrates our commitment to helping survivors recover from Hurricane Fiona, providing eligible individuals and families the opportunity to continue advancing their recovery,” said DuWayne Tewes, Federal Coordinating Officer for Hurricane Fiona.

IA Specialists reached out to survivors whose applications lacked documentation, such as proof of ownership and occupancy, or populations who required additional support, including people with access or functional needs, people 65 years of age or older, with zero or low income, or those who may have difficulty understanding and advancing through the recovery process.

In addition to completing targeted call outs, FEMA applied lessons learned and broadened the scope of documentation that is accepted to prove home ownership, identity, and prove that the survivor was living in the home at the time of the disaster. This allowed residents who lacked standard documentation to qualify for assistance.

FEMA continues to contact survivors with questions related to their disaster application. If an applicant receives one of these messages via phone call, text message or email, they should call the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-3362.

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FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during and after disasters. For more information on Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Fiona, please visit fema.gov/disaster/4671. Follow us on our Facebook.com/FEMAPuertoRico page, Twitter @FEMA or @FEMAEspanol.

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