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What Is FEMA Doing in Response to Puerto Rico’s Disaster?

A short list of actions being taken to respond.

Here’s a quick summary of what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is doing to coordinate the response to Tropical Storm Fiona.

“President Joseph R. Biden approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico on Sunday, authorizing FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts to alleviate hardship and suffering and to provide appropriate assistance, to save lives, and to protect property, public health, and safety.

Key briefing updates included that:

• FEMA deployed five Incident Management Assistance Teams and four Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) teams to bolster response efforts. Additionally, Mobile Emergency Response Support, Incident Support Base and Staging Management Teams are on the island.

• FEMA prepositioned supplies on the island including four strategically located warehouses throughout the island, more than 7 million liters of water, more than 4 million ready-to-eat meals, more than 215 generators, more than 100,000 tarps, more than 28,000 plastic covers and more than 10,300 cots and other emergency supplies.

• FEMA is sending mental health and counseling resources to support our FEMA personnel, many of whom are survivors themselves and are from the island. Additionally, we are identifying additional mental health resources to provide for the broader Puerto Rico community, many who are being retraumatized given that Maria was just five years ago.

• More than 450 members of the Puerto Rico National Guard are assisting the Puerto Rico government response by conducting search and rescue, commodity distribution, security operations and more. Additionally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is supporting the island’s search and rescue response.

• FEMA is working with the Governor’s office, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the Department of Energy, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to get power restored to all Puerto Ricans as quickly as possible.

• Due to continuous days of rainfall from Hurricane Fiona, risks of mud, rock, and landslides persist across Puerto Rico. Additionally, an excessive heat advisory is in effect for the island for the next couple of days. Residents are encouraged to stay alert to continuing hazards.”
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.