Sept. 24th Update from FEMA

We just received the following information from FEMA:

FEMA Asks All Residents to Follow Directions of Commonwealth, Territorial, and Local Officials

Power Restoration and Debris Removal Efforts Continue

The top priority of the federal government is continuing to provide life-saving resources to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. FEMA and its federal partners continue to be on 24-hour operations, aggressively working to meet and overcome challenges to opening ports and restoring power to bring additional life-saving commodities and personnel into disaster-affected areas.

FEMA encourages all residents to continue following the direction of commonwealth, territorial, and local officials.

 The federal support includes air and sea logistical support by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), U.S. Northern Command, the U.S. Navy, and U.S. Coast Guard, in coordination with the private sector.  Fuel, equipment, and commodities to support the response effort will continue to flow through airports and ports, pending power restoration and opening of facilities. 

 Federal partners established a fuel distribution site in San Juan for federal and local entities to support first responder and critical facility needs, and we are working to re-open additional airports to facilitate transportation of fuel.   

 The port of San Juan re-opened for daylight operations and other ports are undergoing assessments.  On St. Thomas [and St. John], the ports of Crown Bay, Cruz Bay, East Gregerie Channel, Red Hook, and West Gregerie Channel are open with restrictions while other ports are being assessed.  On St. Croix, the ports of Krause Lagoon and Limetree Bay are open with restrictions while other ports are being assessed. 

 Federal partners established a fuel distribution site in San Juan for federal and local entities to support first responder and critical facility needs, and we are working to re-open additional airports to facilitate transportation of fuel.   

 The Department of Energy is coordinating with industry on mutual aid for Puerto Rico, and transported crews from New York Power Authority to support damage assessments.

 Six FEMA Urban Search & Rescue task forces (CA-TF6, CA-TF7, VA-TF1, VA-TF2, FL TF-1 and FL TF-2) are stationed in the Caribbean with additional teams en route. Components of other task forces are on the ground providing logistics support (NY-TF1, MA TF1).

 The task forces rescued 165 individuals and searched over 45 structures as of 5 p.m. on September 23, 2017. Of those, approximately 100 people were rescued from a collapsing bridge in Puerto Rico Saturday. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is conducting search and rescue operations in St. Croix, and in the surrounding waters, and so far rescued 15 individuals.

 To donate or volunteer, contact the voluntary or charitable organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (NVOAD) at www.nvoad.org.

FEMA is raising awareness that Hurricane Maria disaster survivors, and their friends and family, should be alert for false rumors, scams, identity theft, and fraud.  FEMA has a dedicated website to address some of the most common themes. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Visit FEMA’s Hurricane Rumor Control page to get the most accurate information from trusted sources.

Information for Survivors

For those in declared areas and who are able to do so, registering online, at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance.

The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a free public reunification tool that allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to search for loved ones, or for individuals to indicate that they are safe. The site is always available, open to the public, and available in English and Spanish.  There are a number of ways to use this service:

  • Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website.
  • Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876. Messages exist in both Spanish and English.
  • To speak with someone at the American Red Cross concerning a missing friend or relative who has a serious, pre-existing health or mental health condition, please contact 1-800 Red Cross (1-800-733-2767).
  • The American Red Cross Emergency App features an “I’m Safe” button that allows users to post a message to their social accounts, letting friends and family know they are out of harm’s way. The app can be downloaded for free in app stores by searching for “American Red Cross” or by texting ‘GETEMERGENCY’ to 90999.

Anyone who finds a child who may be separated from parents or caregivers, please contact the local police and enter basic information and/or a photo into the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Unaccompanied Minors Registry. If you find an unaccompanied child, please indicate whether the child has a disability or has access and functional needs in the appropriate field in the Unaccompanied Minors Registry. If you do not have access to the internet, please call 1-866-908-9570.

FEMA is raising awareness that Hurricane Maria disaster survivors, and their friends and family, should be alert for false rumors, scams, identity theft, and fraud.  FEMA has a dedicated website to address some of the most common themes. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Visit FEMA’s Hurricane Rumor Control page to get the most accurate information from trusted sources.


Federal Resources On the Ground or En-Route

  • There are more than 7,000 federal staff, including over 575 FEMA personnel, on the ground in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands supporting response and recovery operations from Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
  • A FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer and Incident Management Assistance Team is co-located with the Governor on St. Croix, as well as liaisons on St. John and St. Thomas. A Federal Coordinating Officer, an Incident Management Assistance Team, as well as permanent and surge staff are in Puerto Rico.
  • At the federal staging area in St. Croix, there are more than 43,000 liters of water and more than 20,000 meals available for distribution by territory officials.
  • Five airports are open on Puerto Rico, and two airports in the U.S. Virgin Islands for military and relief flights to bring in commodities, and lifesaving and life-sustaining resources. 
  • Flights and sea vessels loaded with commodities are arriving or awaiting airport/port clearance for delivery:

o   Six commercial barges transported and delivered meals, water, generators, cots, and other commodities to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

o   An air bridge is established, flying three flights per day to St. Croix, each carrying approximately 33,000 meals.

o   The logistics support ship SS Wright arrived carrying more than 1.1 million meals, and nearly one million liters of freshwater.

o   Two shipping barges with 1.2 million liters of water, 31 generators, and more than 6,000 cots arrived in St. Thomas.

o   Two additional shipping barges loaded with food, water, and emergency relief supplies are en route to the Caribbean Sea from Florida.

o   Millions of additional meals are being flown to Puerto Rico from staging areas in Kentucky and Florida.

o   The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is transporting a shipment of 124,000 gallons of diesel fuel to Puerto Rico, with arrival in the coming days.

  • At all times, FEMA maintains commodities at its Distribution Center and Warehouse in Puerto Rico should they be needed by the Commonwealth or the U.S. Virgin Islands. These commodities currently include more than 84,000 meals, 25 generators, and more than 500 cots.
  • Public and commercial communications services suffered significant damage on the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. One Mobile Emergency Response Support team (MERS) is in St. Thomas, and one MERS team and one Disaster Emergency Communication Coordinator are on St. Croix assisting personnel with communications. Additional teams continue to arrive to provide mobile telecommunications, logistics, operational support and power generation.
  • FEMA’s National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) is facilitating private sector requests for humanitarian relief.  The NBEOC continues coordination between government and private sector organizations as the community responds to Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
  • Other federal agencies are taking the following actions:  
    • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operations personnel arrived in St. Thomas to evaluate, fix, and install FAA equipment, in support of airport operations. 
    • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) completed a Blue Roof install on Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas, and completed its first residential Blue Roof install on September 23.
    • Additionally, USACE has 27 generators on hand in St. Thomas with more than 50 additional generators en route. USACE and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continue to survey damaged channels and ports in Puerto Rico. USACE and other supporting agencies have completed several temporary power installs on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and completed more than 100 inspections.

o   A Coast Guard mobile communications convoy is en route to Puerto Rico to help improve communications across the storm-impacted area. Coast Guard personnel continue to deliver critical FEMA relief supplies to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, M.D., declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally HHS has one Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) deployed to Puerto Rico. Four additional DMATs will arrive in Puerto Rico as aircraft are available.
    • Customs and Border Protection airplanes and helicopters are assisting with conducting damage assessment and search and rescue missions.
    • More than 180 Federal Law Enforcement Officers are in San Juan supporting search and rescue and medical teams.

Declarations

  • On September 23, President Trump amended the earlier major disaster declaration for the U.S. Virgin Islands to make funding available to affected individuals in St. Thomas and St. John.
  • On September 20, President Trump issued a major disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria. This declaration makes federal funding available to affected individuals in 54 municipalities. Federal funding is also available to the Commonwealth and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in all 78 municipalities in the Commonwealth, along with hazard mitigation measures throughout the Commonwealth. 
  • On September 18, President Trump issued the following federal emergency declarations in advance of Hurricane Maria’s landfall:

Safety

  • If you encounter flood waters, remember – turn around, don’t drown.
  • Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous. Almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges, and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings that may have been damaged.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
     
  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
  • Avoid downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines.
  • Ensure water is safe to drink, cook or clean with after a flood. Oftentimes a boil water order is put in place following a flood.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.

If Asked

  • Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are working to prioritize fuel distribution for the islands.
  • Hurricane Irma applicants from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have yet to receive an inspection, will continue to be processed in Irma as most will not realize they would have needed to apply a second time.  All damage recorded will be processed in Irma.
  • Hurricane Irma applicants from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have already been inspected, must contact FEMA again if they sustained damage from Hurricane Maria to apply separately under the Hurricane Maria declarations.  Any new awards will be processed through the Hurricane Maria declaration.
  • Any survivor who has yet to apply will be registered in the appropriate disaster by reported date of loss: if they say they were damaged from both storms, their damage will be recorded under Hurricane Maria go in Maria and all damage will be processed through that disaster.
  • Additional information for the U.S. Virgin Islands is available at the following locations:
  • Additional information for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is available at:

Additional questions can be directed to FEMA Intergovernmental Affairs at 202-285-7835.

3 thoughts on “Sept. 24th Update from FEMA”

  1. My mortgage payment is due and there is no way to contact the bank. Is there any relief I can get for making my mortgage payment. I live on St. John and have no work and I can’t afford to make my Mortgage payment. The phones aren’t working in Puerto Rico where my bank is located and also Saint Thomas is not answering at Bank o popular.
    Who else can I contact for any information regarding this matter thank you

    • Sherrie
      I doubt the bank will be worried about it the best thing to do is put the money in an escrow account until things reopen in PR this will show good faith on your part and the should not charge you any fees base on the current circumstances

  2. Any photos from the Coral Bay side? There is very little information about Coral Bay coming from national media. Would love to see the condition of the businesses there.

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