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Meals and Water Top List of Unified Efforts Toward Recovery in Puerto Rico

Release date: 
October 15, 2017
Release Number: 
R2 DR-4339-PR NR 019

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, supplying meals
anHurricane Mariad water to severely impacted survivors remains a priority of local and federal government and nongovernment agencies. This is the largest sustained funding operation in the history of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

During the next week, it is expected that 10 million liters of bottled water and 18 million shelf-stable meals will arrive in Puerto Rico. This is in addition to the ongoing wide range of meals already being provided to survivors by the government of Puerto Rico, FEMA and the numerous volunteer agencies feeding Puerto Ricans across the island.

Power grid repair gets 50-megawatt generatorU.S. Army Corps of Engineers provide generators for critical facilities in Puerto Rico

Power restoration continues as a 50-megawatt generator is currently being installed at the Palo Seco Power Plant in San Juan. This is the first step in efforts toward emergency power restoration of what was already a fragile system.

It will take months to complete the emergency work to sustain power until the government of Puerto Rico can permanently restore the island’s power grid. But power restoration is well underway.

Tarps and ‘Blue Roof’ program helps residents protect their homes

More than 140,000 homes in Puerto Rico are in need of some sort of repair as a result of the hurricane. FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are providing short-term options for homeowners to protect their damaged homes from wind and rain.

One option, Operation Blue Roof, provides a temporary covering of reinforced blue plastic sheeting to help reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made. Blue Roofs are designed to last about 30 days. To date, the USACE has received more than 2,800 requests for Blue Roof repairs and has installed more than 250.

In addition, FEMA has blue tarps, often referred to as self-help tarps, available at no cost throughout local municipalities. These large, loose-fitting sheets of waterproof material are installed by the homeowner and are meant to be temporary protection.

To find out which temporary option is right for you, visit your local municipality, or call 888-766-3258.

FEMA hires locally to support Puerto Rican recovery

FEMA recently hosted a job fair in Ponce. The federal agency is hiring local residents to assist in the disaster recovery effort. 

Residents who wish to apply should email their résumés to and include the words “Puerto Rico” in the subject line. If you do not have access to the internet, you can submit your resume at any open post office in Puerto Rico in a sealed envelope; simply drop it off and the U.S. Postal Service will transmit to FEMA’s team in Puerto Rico. Applicants are requested to provide the name of the job they wish to be considered for and a preferred contact method. Applicants may be contacted via email, phone, or m

Mayra Toro, assistant secretary for environmental health for the Puerto Rico Health Department and native of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, gives out “Aquatabs”, which are chlorine tablets that purifies water, to a resident of Canovanas, Puerto Rico, Oct. 11, 2017
ail regarding the interview, hiring and selection process.

Agencies use multipronged approach to water purification

The government of Puerto Rico, FEMA and a number of federal, state, and local agencies, along with voluntary and nonprofit organizations, are using a multipronged approach to ensure potable water is available to all residents:

  • Water purification tablets are being distributed in non-PRASA communities;
  • Bottled water is provided to municipalities through regional staging areas;  
  • Bulk water tankers with PRASA potable water are at strategic locations throughout the island;
  • Assessing and testing the conditions of drinking water, which includes sampling, analysis;
  • Getting wastewater treatment systems up and running, and
  • Working in tandem with the other agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is assessing the condition of drinking water systems throughout the island.

Getting wastewater treatment systems up and running, and working in tandem with the other agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is assessing the condition of drinking water systems throughout the island.


FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711/VRS - Video Relay Service). TDD call 800-462-7585. Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish).

The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters, which can cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

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Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 11:59