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Governor Rosselló gives updates on preparations for Hurricane Irma

Governor Rosselló gives updates on preparations for Hurricane Irma

(September 5, 2017 – San Juan) Due to the hurricane warning issued for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands before the passage of Hurricane Irma, the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, will request the president of the United States, Donald Trump, to declare a state of emergency for the Island prior to the disaster.

The decision was made following a meeting this morning with John Rabin, Acting Region Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Administration Region II (FEMA) and FEMA Caribbean Area Division Director, Alejandro De La Campa .

This measure will facilitate the disbursement of federal emergency funds, if necessary, after the hurricane passes through the local area.

Rabin—who came to the Island yesterday—reported that FEMA has over 500 officials in Puerto Rico, a medical team, and search and rescue team to collaborate with the Government of Puerto Rico in the event of an emergency.

The Puerto Rico State Agency for Emergency and Disaster Management (AEMEAD, per its Spanish acronym) reported that the Emergency Operations Center (COE, per its Spanish acronym) will be activated on Wednesday at noon.

In addition, the governor signed an Executive Order to activate a temporary alcohol ban effective from Wednesday morning at 6:00 a.m.

At the moment, the Puerto Rico Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO, per its Spanish acronym) has made 183 visits to establishments to verify compliance and has dispensed 22 notices of infraction to 22 establishments—16 gas stations—for various regulatory infractions and two related to the orders of profit and prices.

Additionally, 189 infringement requirements have been issued.

Ernesto Morales of the National Weather Service reported that the first tropical storm effects will be experienced from Wednesday morning at 11:00 a.m. in the East and North of the Island. Six to eight inches of rain are expected, and up to 12 inches in isolated areas, he indicated.
After visiting several flood-prone areas in San Juan, Loíza and Culebra yesterday, Rosselló urged citizens to finish their contingency plans today and identify a shelter in the case of those citizens living in flood-prone areas.

The Government of Puerto Rico has 456 shelters available with capacity for 63,229 people. AEMEAD reported that 156 shelters were activated at the request of the municipalities.

The Department of Family Affairs and the Puerto Rico Police Department will collaborate to serve the homeless population that needs to move to a shelter.

In addition, from today at noon, the phone line (787) 771-6989 will be activated to request information on the location of shelters, and the website is also available.

Governor Rosselló is expected to visit other municipalities on the Island today to identify and tend first-hand to their needs.

The Department of Natural Resources reported that it is working with 14 pumping stations to prevent flooding. Also, agency brigades are working on the cleaning of canals and streams in Toa Baja, Cataño, Naguabo, and Adjuntas, following the requests of the municipalities.

In addition, equipment was rented to meet other requests from the Municipality of Patillas and future emergencies.

Starting today, ferry services between Fajardo, Vieques, and Culebra was suspended due to a safety order made by the Coast Guard. The last trips left yesterday at 6:50pm and it was informed that all the tourists who needed to leave the Municipality Islands of Vieques and Culebra were mobilized.

The governor reminded the public that the Government will work until noon today to put into the action the plans for the protection of public property.
He also reiterated that the schools and the University of Puerto Rico do not have classes today and will remain closed until the weather conditions allow them to resume operations, after the imminent passage of the tropical system through the local area.

Meanwhile, the Customer Service line of the Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority (PRASA) will be operating from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and the line for people with audio disabilities was also made available: 787 679 7322. At the same time, there will be 200 truck with water tanks of 6 thousand gallons available for the whole Island.

It was also reported that beneficiaries of the Nutrition Assistance Program (PAN, per its Spanish acronym) with Social Security numbers 4, 5, and 6 will receive their payment today, which will benefit 190,242 additional families for a total of $47.8 million. In addition, 60 food distribution boxes were taken to Municipality Island of Vieques yesterday.

Beneficiaries can access, download the application, or call 787 274 -0111.

The Puerto Rico Department of Health indicated that clinical visits and selective surgeries will be performed today, but procedures scheduled for Wednesday were suspended. Patients should wait for a reprogramming call.

The Puerto Rico Administration of Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services (ASSMCA, per its Spanish acronym) reported that methadone services will be offered today from 5:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.