One Month After Isaías, Disaster Assistance Outreach Continues

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October 9, 2020

GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – One month after the federal disaster declaration for Tropical Storm Isaías, hundreds of survivors in Aguada, Hormigueros, Mayagüez and Rincón municipalities have applied for disaster assistance.

FEMA continues to reach out to others who were affected by the storm and may be eligible for federal assistance after the Sept. 9 disaster declaration. As of Oct. 7, FEMA has approved $474,380 for housing and other essential storm-related needs under the Individual Assistance program.

The deadline to apply is Nov. 9. The sooner residents apply, the sooner any assistance they receive can be used to speed their recovery.

FEMA grants are now providing rental assistance to 64 families who can’t live in their damaged homes. Repair grants are helping other families to ensure their homes are safe, clean and usable. There may still be others who may need housing assistance.

There can be many reasons people haven’t applied yet. Among these are disaster fatigue. People who have lived through hurricanes, earthquakes, a pandemic and now a tropical storm may feel they just don’t have the energy to fix up and rebuild again. These are understandable emotions; but receiving FEMA assistance may just give the boost people need to put them on the road to recovery.

FEMA particularly wants to reach out to people with disabilities. Anyone who needs assistance to apply can receive information in several languages, including sign language. There are technical devices to assist those who are hard of hearing or have low vision. You can arrange for a family member or friend to help you apply for assistance.

There are many ways to contact FEMA. You can apply by internet, phone or by using an app. At Disaster Recovery Centers, in-person visits by appointment can help with your specific needs.

FEMA continues its outreach to community leaders and non-governmental organizations to ensure that people with disabilities receive the same information as everyone else.

FEMA programs are defined by law and can seem confusing. You may need to read through a letter that explains what needs to be done next to keep your application moving forward.

But you can get help with this process. FEMA Helpline specialists can explain anything you don’t understand. At the Disaster Recovery Centers in each of the four municipalities, specialists are available to help.

As part of the FEMA application process, you may receive an application for a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Complete the application. Apply online at Call 800-659-2955 or email

Free legal help is also available. Visit to make an appointment or call 787-728-5070 or 800-981-5342. Leave a message and a lawyer will return your call within 48 hours. Lines are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

The first step to recovery is to apply with FEMA. 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 11 p.m. daily.
  • Visit
  • Download FEMA’s mobile app. Select Disaster Resources and click on 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:
  • Visit any Disaster Recovery Center. The FEMA Helpline can identify the nearest location. Let the specialist know if you need a sign language interpreter or would like someone to accompany you to the appointment.

For more information on Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery, visit and Facebook:





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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