the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Signs Puerto Rico Disaster Declaration

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 affected by Tropical Storm María during the period of September 8-14, 2011.
 
The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the municipalities of Juana Díaz, Naguabo, 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.
 
W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Justo Hernández as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
 
FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the commonwealth and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
 
FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov 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 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION MEDIA SHOULD CONTACT:  FEMA NEWS DESK AT (202) 646-3272 OR FEMA-NEWS-DESK@DHS.GOV