Nearly two years after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the vast majority of permanent work projects have yet to begin. >Archive/ Carlos Rivera Giusti

FEMA and the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, or COR3, have obligated nearly $18.5 million in additional funds for 115 projects related to the recovery and reconstruction of Puerto Rico.

More than two years after Hurricane Maria hit the island, FEMA and COR3 are working together to develop strategies that advance recovery projects. To date, about $5.9 billion has been approved for Puerto Rico under FEMA's Public Assistance program.

The latest grants obligated during November are as follows:

• Over $6 million for emergency protective measures

• Over $5.5 million for repairs to roads and bridges

• Over $3.7 million for debris removal

• Over $853,000 for repairs to public buildings and equipment

• Over $718,000 for repairs to water control facilities

• Over $654,000 for work related to parks and recreational facilities

• Over $551,000 to municipal governments for administrative costs

• Nearly $330,000 for repairs to public utilities

Officials said that FEMA and COR3 are also focused on prioritizing obligations of funds to municipalities for eligible expenses related to hurricanes Irma and Maria to help communities recover.

“Many projects during this phase of the recovery are for architectural and engineering design, which may open the door to funding opportunities for larger projects in the future. These funds help to reduce the “damage-rebuild-damage” cycle that comes with restoring structures to pre-disaster conditions. They assure quality by meticulously detailing scopes of work to ensure a repaired and rebuilt Puerto Rico is better positioned to withstand another storm,” COR3 said in a statement.

“Emergency protective measures are actions taken to eliminate or lessen immediate threats either to lives, public health or safety, or significant additional damage to public or private property in a cost-effective manner,” the agency added.

Funding for permanent work includes projects like roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings and equipment, public utilities and park and recreation facilities as authorized under Section 406 of the Robert T. Stafford Act.

“FEMA works with COR3 through the agency’s Public Assistance program to obligate recovery funds to private nonprofit organizations, municipalities and agencies of the Government of Puerto Rico for expenses related to hurricanes Irma and Maria,” COR3 said.

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