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Hurricane Maria

This is the main page for up-to-date resources and information on the federal response to Hurricane Maria.

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Group of five people posing in front of a house for a photo, a female is handing a key to an elderly female.
Cayey, Puerto Rico, December 13, 2018 - Survivor Matilde Cotto's home used to be a wooden structure, and it was destroyed by hurricane Maria. After the foundation was assessed, it was determined that it could hold up a stronger, more resilient structure. Concrete was used to build a stronger house with mitigation measures to withstand future natural events. Under the Permanent Housing Construction program, we are providing better, stronger, more resilient constructions in which families can live safer in their new homes.   Download Original
 

Federal Recovery Updates

All figures as of April 8, 2019

We update these figures weekly, Monday through Friday; for the most current progress of recovery related to a number of critical sectors in Puerto Rico, please visit the Government of Puerto Rico's website: www.status.pr

By the Numbers

Amounts of assistance provided by FEMA to survivors and communities in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

Repairs

  • VALOR repairs completed: 3,250
  • Tu Hogar Renace repairs completed: 108,484

Power Generators

  • Active: 9
  • At Peak: 1,667

Debris Cleared

  • 11.6 million cubic yards

Temporary Roofing

  • FEMA Self Help Tarps: 125,981
  • Blue Roofs installed: 59,469 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

FEMA Individuals and Households Program

Total dollars approved: $2.4 billion

  • Housing Assistance: $772 million
  • Other Needs Assistance: $418 million
  • Immediate Needs Assistance: $947 million

FEMA Public Assistance

Total dollars obligated - $5.6 billion

  • Project worksheets obligated - 1,151

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

  • Total claims approved: 9,097
  • Funding allocated: $24 million

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

  • Loans approved: 56,440
  • Total dollars approved: $2 billion

    HUD Community Development Block Grants 

    • Total dollars approved: $20 billion

    Recovery Status

    • PRASA - 99%
    • PREPA - 99.9%
    • Wastewater Treatment Plants - 100%

    Number of Federal Employees

    • Total - 2,416
      • FEMA Employees (Total) - 1,972
      • Local FEMA Employees - 1,517
      • Other Federal/Local Contractors - 444

    Puerto Rico Rebuilding

    Summary of federal assistance provided to help Puerto Rico respond to and recover from Hurricane Maria.

    • Public Assitance - $5.6 billion total approved
      • $627 million funding for Debris Removal
      • $4.4 billion funding for Emergency Protective Measures
      • $1.9 billion Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority
    • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program - $16.5 million obligated
    • Community Disaster Loans - $294 million total approved
      • Number of Municipalities - 75
    • USACE Mission Assignments - $3.7 billion
      • Grid Restoration - $2.1 billion
      • Temporary Power Generators - $823 million
      • Generator Maintenance to Critical Infrastructure - $136 million
      • Debris Removal Mission Assignments - $231 million
    • HUD Community Development Disaster Recovery - $20 billion awarded
    • Department of Education - nearly $600 million (as of May 29, 2018)

    Federal Housing Snapshot

    A snapshot of federal housing assistance provided to Hurricane Maria survivors in Puerto Rico.

     125,981. Direct Lease/Multi-Family Lease and Repair – Number of Families Leased In: 135; Total Dollar Amount: $11 million. US Small Business Administration Assistance for Homeowners & Businesses – Loans Approved: 56,389. Home Loans: $1.7 billion; Business Loans $203 million; Total Dollars Approved $2 billion. HUD – Survivors who meet U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development income requirements are being referred directly to HUD’s programs. Survivors can then go online or to the local housing authority to work with HUD on available Section 8 properties in their area.

    Individual & Households Program

    Rental Assistance - $131 million
    Essential Home Repairs - $533 million
    Home Replacement - $84 million

    Voluntary Agencies Leading and Organizing Repair

    Repairs completed - 3,520

    • Estimated total - $14.4 million

    Tu Hogar Renace

    Repairs completed - 108,484

    • Average cost per home - $10,409

    Temporary Roofing

    100% completed

    • Blue Roof - 59,469
    • FEMA Self Help Tarps - 125,981

    Direct Lease/Multi- Family Lease and Repair

    71 families leased in.

    • Total dollar amount - $11.7 million

    U.S. Small Business Administration Assistance for Homeowners & Businesses

    Loans approved - 56,440

    • Home Loans - $1.7 billion
    • Business Loans - $205 million
    • Total dollars approved - $2 billion

    Commodity Distribution

    FEMA’s inventory of commodities in Puerto Rico for the 2018 Hurricane Season as of March 13, 2019.

    To see more photos of the federal response to Hurricane Maria, visit the following collections from our federal partners:

    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 floodingor 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

    Emergency Preparedness

    Emergency Preparedness.  Hurricane, Flood, Earthquake, Tsunami and Fire.

    Hurricane season is officially over, but residents should remember that emergency preparedness is a year-round responsibility. Having a preparedness plan helps everyone act quickly and decisively in the face of a disaster and can minimize loss of property and prevent death and injury.

    One Year After Hurricane María

    “We’ll be here until the job is complete.”

    --Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Byrne

    One year after hurricanes Irma and María devastated Puerto Rico, FEMA, its federal partners and the Government of Puerto Rico are undertaking one of the largest post-disaster reconstruction and humanitarian efforts in U.S. history.

    Major portions of the infrastructure are being rebuilt as federal agencies support the Government of Puerto Rico’s plan to restore the island’s lifeline systems and enable Puerto Rico to withstand the storms to come.

    In 2017, Hurricanes Irma, María and other disasters affected nearly 47 million people in the United States. While recovery continues, FEMA and its interagency partners remain focused and dedicated to the continued stabilization and resilience of impacted communities. FEMA continues to support response and recovery from hurricanes Harvey, Irma, María and the California wildfires.

    After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico had no electricity, no water, no telecommunications and no transportation systems. Today, electricity is flowing, water systems are operating, traffic is moving, airports and seaports are operating and permanent reconstruction has already begun.

    Never before has FEMA coordinated federal resources to rebuild an entire commonwealth with a population of 3.3 million people, 78 municipalities, electrical, water and telecommunications systems, seaports, airports, schools, healthcare system, roads and bridges. More than 166,000 homes need repair or reconstruction.

    Unique Challenges

    The response to Hurricane María was unprecedented. It was the largest and longest federal response to a domestic disaster in the history of the United States. To put María’s impacts into context, this has been:

    • The longest sustained domestic air mission of food and water response in U.S. history;
    • The largest disaster commodity distribution mission in U.S. history;
    • The largest sea-bridge operation of federal disaster aid in U.S. history; 
    • The largest disaster generator installation mission in the United States, with generators still installed at critical facilities today;
    • One of the largest disaster medical response missions in U.S. history; and
    • One of largest disaster housing missions in U.S. history.

    Then and Now

    After María, Puerto Rico’s entire electrical grid failed. Nobody had power. In 30 days, 21 percent of customers were restored to power; in 60 days, 49 percent; in 90 days, 65 percent. Today, power has been restored to 99.99 percent of customers able to receive an electrical hookup.

    Water systems were inoperable. Water service went from 20 to 69 percent operational in 30 days, 91 percent in 60 days. Today, 99.5 percent of water customers are restored.

    Debris from María and 41,000 landslides shut down all but 400 miles of Puerto Rico’s 16,700 miles of roads, cutting off municipalities across the island. Today, the roads are clear and traffic is moving.

    María knocked out 95 percent of cellular sites. In 30 days, 61 percent of cellular sites were operating; in 60 days, 96 percent; today, 99.8 percent.

    “This is a massive job and it has taken a massive effort by everybody: the Government of Puerto and the municipalities, federal agencies, voluntary and faith-based organizations and the private sector,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Byrne, who is leading FEMA’s recovery efforts. “This work will go on for years, and we’ll be here until the job is complete.”

    Progress in neighborhoods, restoration of services

    Progress in Puerto Rico, Hurricane María. Numbers of days after María made landfall. DAY 1 - Cell service 4.8%, Water service 20%, Generators installed at critical facilities 0, Power 0%. DAY 30 - Cell service 61%, Water service 69%, Generators installed at critical facilities 148, Power 21%. DAY 60 - Cell service 96%, Water service 90.63%, Generators installed at critical facilities 645, Power 49%. 6 MONTHS - Cell service 96%, Water service 98.7%, Generators installed at critical facilities 872, Power 94.56%. ONE YEAR - Cell service 99.81%, Water service 99.56%, Generators installed at critical facilities 129, Power 99.99%.

    More than 462,000 households have received a total of $1.4 billion in FEMA Individual Assistance for essential home repairs, rental assistance and other disaster-related costs. Under FEMA’s Temporary Sheltering Assistance program more than 7,000 families were housed in just over 1,000 hotels in 41 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

    To date, the Tu Hogar Renace (Your Home Reborn) program, administered by the Government of Puerto Rico and funded by FEMA, repaired 68,654 homes. Voluntary Agencies Leading and Organizing Repair, VALOR, repaired 1,403 homes.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration approved $1.8 billion in low-interest disaster loans to 52,228 homeowners, renters and businesses. The National Flood Insurance Program paid $21 million to policyholders.

    Eight million cubic yards of debris was removed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local jurisdictions. USACE installed emergency generators at 1,300 sites to support critical facilities. USACE also installed 59,469 blue roofs and FEMA supplied 126,000 blue tarps for homeowners to install.

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the Government of Puerto Rico $20 billion in Community Development Block Grants to help rebuild housing and meet other community needs.

    FEMA has obligated more than $3.3 billion in Public Assistance grants to help pay for debris removal, power restoration and emergency services; more funding is planned for repair or replacement of public infrastructure. 

    Preparations for the next storm

    Puerto Rico’s Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency reports that 74 of the island’s 78 municipalities have selected recovery projects to help build future resiliency, with the support and guidance of FEMA incident management assistance teams. Puerto Rico’s Emergency Operations Center practiced responding to simulated incidents with support from FEMA personnel. Training also has been provided to personnel involved in health care, energy, water, telecommunications, transportation, debris removal and commodity distribution.

     

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    Currently 422 shelters are available if needed. FEMA has increased the amount of commodities stored on the island in four new warehouses:

     

    • 13.8 million liters of water
    • 3.8 million meals
    • 630 generators
    • 20,000 blankets
    • 270,000 tarps
    • 73,500 rolls of plastic sheeting

     

    The devastating hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 reminded the nation of the importance of preparing for disasters. It is important for residents to prepare in advance to help themselves and their community. Find tips at Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.

    Helping Children Cope

    To talk to a professional who can help you cope with emotional distress from the storm: Call the @disasterdistressline at (800) 985-5990 crisis support services are available 24/7.

    Children may cope more effectively with a disaster when they feel they understand what is happening and what they can do to help protect themselves, their family, and friends. Here’s how you can help them cope and a Fact Sheet:

    • Talk about the concerns about the storm with your children. To not talk about it makes it even more threatening in your children's mind. Start by asking what your children have already heard and what understanding they have. As your children explain, listen for misinformation, misconceptions, and underlying fears or concerns, and then address these.
    • Explain - as simply and directly as possible - what is happening or likely to happen. The amount of information that will be helpful to children depends on their age and developmental level, as well as their coping style. For example, older children generally want and will benefit from more detailed information than younger children. Because every child is different, take cues from your own children as to how much information to provide.
    • Encourage your children to ask questions, and answer those questions directly. Like adults, children are better able to cope with a crisis if they feel they understand it. Question-and-answer exchanges help to ensure ongoing support as your children begin to understand the crisis and the response to it.
    • Limit television viewing of disasters and other crisis events, especially for younger children. Consider coverage on all media, including the internet and social media. When older children watch television, try to watch with them and use the opportunity to discuss what is being seen and how it makes you and your children feel.
    • Reassure children of the steps that are being taken to keep them safe. Disasters and other crises remind us that we are never completely safe from harm. Now more than ever it is important to reassure children that, in reality, they should feel safe in their schools, homes, and communities.
    • Consider sharing your feelings about a crisis with your children. This is an opportunity for you to role model how to cope and how to plan for the future. Before you reach out, however, be sure that you are able to express a positive or hopeful plan.
    • Help your children to identify concrete actions they can take to help those affected by recent events. Rather than focus on what could have been done to prevent a disaster or other crisis, concentrate on what can be done now to help those affected by the event.
    • Play games and do activities together to create meaningful dialogue and offer a distraction.
    • If you have concerns about your children's behavior, contact your children's pediatrician, other primary care provider, or a qualified mental health professional.

    Disaster Fraud & Price Gouging

    After a disaster scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals may attempt to prey on vulnerable survivors. The most common post-disaster fraud practices include phony housing inspectors, fraudulent building contractors, bogus pleas for disaster donations and fake offers of state or federal aid.

    • If you have any concerns about individuals representing themselves as FEMA or would like to report fraud, please contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721 or via email at disaster@leo.gov.

    Dealing with Contractors:

    Survivors should take steps to protect themselves and avoid fraud when hiring contractors to clean property, remove debris or make repairs.

    Simple rules to avoid becoming a victim of fraud:

    • Only use contractors licensed by your state
    • Get a written estimate and get more than one estimate
    • Demand and check references
    • Ask for proof of insurance
      • i.e., liability and Workmen's Compensation
    • Insist on a written contract and refuse to sign a contract with blank spaces
    • Get any guarantees in writing
    • Make final payments only after the work is completed
    • Pay by check.

    The best way to avoid fraud is to arm yourself against it by having a checklist to remind you of what you need to demand when hiring a contractor.

    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

    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.

    Last Updated: 
    05/23/2019 - 17:59