The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 1, 2008

Statement on Federal Disaster Assistance for Puerto Rico

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and ordered Federal aid to supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and flooding beginning on September 21, 2008, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the municipalities of Guayama, Humacao, Maunabo, Patillas, Ponce, Salinas, Santa Isabel, and Yabucoa.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire Commonwealth.

R. David Paulison, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Justo Hernandez as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.

FEMA said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more municipalities and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed.

FEMA said that those who sustained losses in the municipalities designated for aid to affected individuals and business owners can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, until further notice.


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