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Governor Pedro Pierluisi indicated this Tuesday that the evaluation of the damage caused by Hurricane Fiona on the island has already begun and anticipated that today he will formally submit the request for a major disaster declaration to the President of the United States, Joe Biden, which, after being approved, It will allow the State, municipalities and citizens in general to access funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through public and individual assistance programs.
“Specifically, in the application we are requesting that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) public assistance be activated to restore services and individual emergency work assistance, among others. We are limiting the request to this type of help. No to FEMA programs for permanent work. For those programs we will be submitting another request later when we have raised the damage estimate, “explained the governor.
Public employees and schools
Likewise, the chief executive announced that as of tomorrow, Wednesday, public employees must begin to report to their respective jobs to the extent that it is feasible for them.
“What we anticipate is that this is going to be a gradual process,” Pierluisi said at a press conference at the Bureau for Emergency Management and Disaster Administration (NMEAD).
Regarding the public education system, Pierluisi said that the Secretary of Education, Eliezer Ramos, is evaluating the status of each school and in the coming days he will be announcing which schools are ready to receive students and teaching staff.
Ramos anticipated that his goal is to resume classes this Thursday.
When does FEMA kick in?
to questions of The new daythe governor said he still does not have a preliminary report on the damage that Fiona left on the island.
“This is a process that really begins now, when the event ends,” he said.
Meanwhile, the FEMA coordinator for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, Orlando Olivera, said that later, once the disaster declaration is approved, they would be providing the places where people can go to make claims.
However, the commissioner of the NMEAD, Nino Correa, recommended that the general public verify and document the damage that their properties may have suffered. He said they should take photos and those with policies, particularly flood policies, start making claims.
The governor said that FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell is arriving on the island today.
“I will be meeting with her sometime in the afternoon,” he said.
He reported that there are currently 92 open shelters and there are 1,223 refugees in 70 shelters.
Some 300,000 subscribers of the Electric Power Authority (PREPA) have electricity and 40% of the subscribers of the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority have drinking water service.
Abner Gómez, manager of Public Safety at LUMA Energy, announced that “a large part” of PREPA subscribers would have light between today and tomorrow.
“We are concentrating or evaluating (the damage) in the southern area of Puerto Rico, which is the one that has received the most damage, focused on the transmission lines, which are hundreds of miles,” he said, not without specifying details of the damage found. Until now.
He maintained that in the next few days cameras will be installed in the helicopters that fly over the lines. He did not specify the flight hours of four helicopters that fly over the lines.
“We assure you that a large part of Puerto Rico will be energized between today and tomorrow,” said Gómez.
“My expectation is that between today and tomorrow, at the latest by the end of tomorrow, a large part, using the same words as Abner, a large part of our population will have electric service. What specific percentage, I am not going to say in respect to that evaluation that is being carried out, ”said the chief executive.
Help for PAN beneficiaries
On the other hand, he announced that the beneficiaries of the Nutrition Assistance Program will be able, as of today, to buy ready-made food in the 3,000 restaurants or establishments certified by the Family Socioeconomic Development Administration.
Meanwhile, the secretary of the Department of the Family, Carmen Ana González Magaz, indicated that they have 1.7 pounds of food and in coordination with the mayors they will be distributing it among the people in need. She added that they have already started that process in Maunabo.