TRUMP takes steps to help Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands post IRMA

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SUNDAY — The White House announced on Sunday that President Donald J. Trump has declared that a major disaster exists in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irma caused damage to the island. Trump also ordered federal aid to supplement recovery efforts.

The White House statement declared, “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 to the Commonwealth and to eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Hurricane Irma in the municipalities of Culebra and Vieques,” it added. “Furthermore, Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures throughout the Commonwealth.”

President Trump is also making additional disaster assistance available to the U.S. Virgin Islands as it too was damaged from the hurricane.

The White House press office said that Trump on Saturday authorized an increase in the level of federal funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures.

“Under the President’s major disaster declaration issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 7, 2017, Federal funding was made available for Public Assistance, Hazard Mitigation, and Other Needs Assistance at 75 percent Federal funding of total eligible costs,” the office said in a statement.

“President Trump increased cost sharing to 90 percent Federal funding for debris removal, including direct Federal assistance, and 100 percent Federal funding for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for 30 days from the start of the incident period, and then a 90 percent Federal cost share thereafter.”

Twenty deaths in the Caribbean have been reported.

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