Release Date: March 16, 2022
Release Number: NR 529
The projects approved as a result of Hurricane María are in the design phase
Guaynabo, Puerto Rico – The municipalities of Dorado, Yabucoa and Loíza are among the applicants for mitigation projects that are already in the design phase, to address flood risks in their communities. The proposals are for nearly $600,000 approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to control or reduce the effects of flooding.
Because of climate change, experts project more floods on the island. According to the engineer and member of the Puerto Rico Committee of Experts and Advisors on Climate Change, Carl Axel Soderberg, an example of these projections are the torrential rains that took place in early February of this year, when up to twelve inches of rain were recorded in a very short time.
"Aware of the long-term risks, we have approved these mitigation projects that will help prevent loss of life and property. We also encourage that designs are focused on green infrastructure, nature-based solutions, and/or low-impact development techniques. This way, communities will be better prepared with the support of infrastructure that is friendly to the environment," said the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator, José Baquero.
Through awards of around $230,000 for the municipality of Dorado, the communities of Doraville, Higuillar, Laguna I and Laguna II could benefit from flood control and flood risk reduction in their respective areas to prevent damage and significantly reduce the severe flooding they have experienced, some for decades.
The projects, which would benefit some 370 households, include the construction of water pumps with discharge piping to a nearby body of water. In addition, the improvement of the drainage systems and the replacement of the current conduits, some of which are too small for the amount of water that flows during heavy rainfall events, are also contemplated.
"These funds are destined for the studies and architectural design of the projects, to reduce the impact of flooding on communities and increase resilience. We are currently in the stage of requesting and awarding the proposals and we hope to soon be able to provide more safety to these families through these risk mitigation works," said the mayor of Dorado, Carlos López Rivera.
Meanwhile, the municipality of Yabucoa is proposing a flood control project in the Comunas and Aguacate neighborhoods to benefit over 670 homes, businesses, schools and churches. The proposal, with approximately $151,000 in funds, seeks to stabilize the soils, in addition to improving and extending over 500 linear meters of sewers, and placing them away from eroded walls.
For the mayor of Yabucoa, Rafael Surillo Ruiz, these projects are filled with hope because they will promote economic development for the municipality. "This channeling will benefit some 350 families that are affected by the flooding of this ravine. By mitagating all these flood effects, developers [can] look favorably at establishing developments in Yabucoa," the mayor stated.
Other mitigation projects in the design phase and included in the total figure belong to the municipality of Loíza, which has some $217,000 in funds for these purposes.
The first phase ─ for which projects have already been approved ─ will be to carry out the planning and design of the proposals. This phase will be financed entirely with funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
"The COR3 team continues to develop proposals, together with the municipalities, for projects like these, which will support risk mitigation efforts. These works will provide security to citizens and their communities in extreme rain events that, as we know, cause severe damage and endanger life and property," said the director of the Puerto Rico Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency, Manuel A. Laboy Rivera.
For more information on Puerto Rico's recovery from Hurricane María, please visit fema.gov/es/disaster/4339 and recuperacion.pr. Follow our social media pages at Facebook.com/FEMAPuertoRico, Facebook.com/COR3pr and Twitter @COR3pr