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Earthquake Survivors Have Until July 2 to Apply for FEMA Disaster

Release date: 
May 30, 2020
Release Number: 
DR-4473-PR MA 08

PONCE, Puerto Rico – FEMA has extended the application deadline for residents who had damage from the earthquakes. Residents now have until July 2 to apply for FEMA disaster assistance for the ongoing earthquakes that began in December.


“Due to the recent earthquake activity, including the 5.4 aftershock that occurred on May 2, we want to ensure that all those affected are receiving the necessary disaster assistance. Therefore, we have extended the registration period,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Alex Amparo, who is leading FEMA operations on the island.


FEMA’s Individual Assistance program may provide some financial assistance for disasterrelated needs such as transportation, childcare, medical or dental care, funeral expenses as well as funding for damaged or uninhabitable housing. FEMA also provides referrals to other agencies that may be able to help.


“We thank FEMA for setting new deadlines to apply for federal assistance for people who suffered earthquake damage, even more so when residents in the south of the island suffered new seismic activity in early May,” said Ottmar Chavez, executive director of the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, or COR3. “The government of Puerto Rico will continue coordinating efforts for the recovery from the active disasters on the island.”


Survivors should not expect that FEMA assistance will completely restore their earthquakedamaged homes. Assistance may include money for essential home repairs, personal property loss, rental assistance and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance. If you discovered more earthquake damage than you first believed, you are encouraged to apply.


The seismic activity in Puerto Rico began Dec. 28, followed by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake on Jan. 7 and a series of aftershocks that continue to impact mainly the island’s southern coast. The strongest earthquakes since January were felt on May 2, including one measuring magnitude 5.4.


Thirty-three municipalities were approved to apply for disaster assistance: Adjuntas, Aguada, Añasco, Arecibo, Barceloneta, Cabo Rojo, Ciales, Coamo, Corozal, Guánica, Guayanilla, Hormigueros, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Lajas, Lares, Las Marías, Maricao, Mayagüez, Moca, Morovis, Naranjito, Orocovis, Peñuelas, Ponce, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San Germán, San Sebastián, Santa Isabel, Utuado, Villalba and Yauco.


There are several ways to apply:
• Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (FEMA) or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Press 2 for a Spanish-speaking operator. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
• Visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
• Download FEMA’s mobile app. Select Disaster Resources and click on DisasterAssistance.gov. If you have an Apple device: Text APPLE to 43362 (4FEMA). For those with an Android device: Text ANDROID to 43362 (4FEMA). For more information go to: www.fema.gov/mobile-app.


Survivors should let FEMA know if they have a request for a reasonable accommodation. FEMA can provide sign language interpreters and information in alternate formats such as Braille, large-print and electronic versions.


For more information on Puerto Rico’s recovery from the earthquakes, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4473 and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/femapuertorico.


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FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.
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-FEMA (3362) or 711 for Video Relay Service. Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish.) TTY call 800-462-7585.
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Last Updated: 
June 1, 2020 - 10:28