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FEMA Operations Cadre Daily Digest Bulletin

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
January 2020: MLK Day of Service, Updated CERT Curriculum, Youth Preparedness Council Application, and More

FEMA Stakeholder Advisory 1-10-2020: FEMA Urges Puerto Rico Residents to Listen to Local Officials








January 10, 2020
Contact: Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs Division
Phone: 202-646-3444





FEMA Urges Puerto Rico Residents to Listen to Local Officials

  • FEMA continues to assist impacted municipalities in addressing emergency needs. FEMA personnel are embedded with local officials in Guánica, Guayanilla, Ponce, Peñuelas and Yauco to facilitate requests for assistance.
  • FEMA and Puerto Rico officials, assisted by the Civil Air Patrol, continue conducting joint damage assessments in the most impacted municipalities of Guánica, Guayanilla, Lajas, Mayaguez, Orocovis, Peñuelas, Ponce, San Germán, San Sebastián, Utuado, Yauco.
  • Disaster response is a whole community effort and most effective when it is locally executed, state managed and federally supported. Federal staff, equipment and commodities are on the ground supporting the government of Puerto Rico’s response and recovery efforts.
  • Although aftershocks are natural, the USGS forecasts a decreased chance of aftershocks. However, if you live in the affected areas, follow instructions from local officials and monitor local radio, TV stations or official social media accounts for updated emergency information.

Local Officials are Leading the Response

  • The Puerto Rico National Guard is assisting with operations including limited infrastructure assessment security/reconnaissance operations, evacuation support, and route clearance operations.
    • An Army National Guard joint liaison team is en route to supplement resources.
  • PREPA says it has restored power to approximately 50 percent of its customers and estimates they will be able to restore power to 90 percent of customers by Sunday, Jan. 12.
  • Currently, 22 shelters are open, with more than 3,000 occupants. An additional 3,500 people are in non-traditional sheltering due to concerns about aftershocks.
  • Follow instructions from your local officials. If you have a question about whether your home is safe to re-enter, consult your local government officials for guidance.
  • Although many health care facilities are operating on generator power, there has been no impact on patient care or access. Two hospitals previously evacuated are now partially reoccupied. Of the affected health care facilities, 48 of 50 are open and operational; 23 on municipal power, 25 on generator power.
  • Twenty water tank trucks are available to supply drinking water to critical facilities.
  • There are 1,300 generators installed on the island, 800 of which are in use.
  • For a list of shelters and other important information from local officials, visit or call the Puerto Rico Emergency Management and Disaster Administration Bureau at 787-724-0124 to find your nearest shelter.

 Federal Agencies Supporting Local Efforts

  • On Jan. 7, President Trump approved an emergency declaration allowing direct federal assistance for emergency measures to protect lives, property and public health after the recent series of earthquakes. This assistance is for all 78 municipalities in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
  • FEMA is maintaining a robust and flexible posture to support response efforts in Puerto Rico, with staff embedded in local municipal offices and with the Puerto Rico Emergency Management forward operations center.
  • The whole community is involved with response efforts including private sector partners and non-governmental organizations like The Salvation Army and American Red Cross.
  • Non-governmental organizations have set up feeding stations to assist survivors in the impacted areas.
  • FEMA has taken the following actions to support Puerto Rico and local governments:
    • FEMA delivered food, water and other commodities to survivors in impacted communities including Lajas, Guánica, Guayanilla, Ponce and Yauco.
    • FEMA established Structural Assessment and Power Restoration Task Forces.
    • Urban Search and Rescue and Incident Support Base personnel are actively engaged in operations.
    • FEMA has prepositioned life-sustaining commodities, including meals and water throughout Puerto Rico.
  • USGS staff are installing additional seismometers to monitor aftershocks.
  • A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Temporary Emergency Power Team is in Puerto Rico; equipment mobilization is expected to begin today.
  • Representatives of the U.S. Department of Energy are in Puerto Rico consulting with private sector partners on ways to increase power generation after the loss of the Costa Sur power plant, which will be offline for a significant period of time.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico to ensure health care and services are available to meet the needs of recipients of Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
    • A liaison from the Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response is in Puerto Rico to assist local officials.
    • Staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are in Puerto Rico coordinating with local partners to assess conditions.

 Potential for Response on Top of Ongoing Recovery

  • When natural disasters such as Tuesday’s earthquake strike, the first responders are local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations and numerous private sector groups. They provide emergency assistance required to protect the public’s health and safety and to meet immediate human need.
  • FEMA continues to support the government of Puerto Rico with their complex and ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricanes Irma and Maria and to ensure everyone is better prepared for disasters that could impact the island, at all levels.

 Earthquake Safety

  • If you are experiencing stress or anxiety, you can call the Disaster Distress Helpline and speak to a crisis counselor. This confidential service is available free of charge, 24 hours a day in English and Spanish. To speak with a trained crisis counselor, call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (for Spanish, press 2 or text Hablanos to 66746). The Puerto Rico Administration of Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services Crisis Hotline is also available at 800-981-0023.
  • If you are in the areas affected by the earthquake, please monitor local radio, TV stations or official social media accounts for updated emergency information.
  • Aftershocks are a natural part of the process, although forecast to decrease, they may continue for some time. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.
    • During an earthquake, Drop, Cover and Hold On. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place.
    • If you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe. Cover your head and neck with your arms or a pillow until the shaking stops.
    • People with mobility disabilities who cannot drop, should still cover and hold on. People who use wheelchairs should lock their wheels and not try to transfer during shaking.
  • Help injured or trapped persons if it is safe for you to do so. Check on neighbors who may require assistance such as infants, children, older adults, people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.
  • Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise immediately move away from the area. If you know how to turn the gas off, do so and report the leak to your local fire department and gas company.
  • Additional earthquake safety and preparedness information is available at and


If you have any questions, please contact the Office of External Affairs, Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs Division at (202) 646-3444 or at




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