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President declares emergency in Puerto Rico after fire, explosions

Firefighters on scene in Puerto Rico, in the area hit by fire and explosions beginning on October 23, 2009
Firefighters on scene in Puerto Rico, in the area hit by fire and explosions
Action enables FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts

The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that federal disaster aid has been made available for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and ordered federal aid to supplement commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area struck by explosions and fire beginning on October 23, 2009 and continuing.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said the president's action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the municipalities of Bayamón, Cataño, Guaynabo, San Juan, and Toa Baja.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.

Fugate named Philip E. Parr as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.

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