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US awards $18.5 billion in recovery grants for Puerto Rico

AP  |  San Juan (Puerto Rico) 

The government announced today that it will award USD 18.5 billion worth of disaster recovery grants to to help repair homes, businesses and its crumbling power grid as the territory struggles to recover from

It is the largest single amount for such assistance ever awarded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said during a visit to the U.S. territory.

"Our goal is to get people back into their homes, get people back to work and to build a stronger for future generations," she said.

The money will be issued through the agency's Community Development Block Grant program.

Patenaude said that planning officials will develop a disaster recovery plan in upcoming weeks.

The announcement comes as 54,000 power customers remain in the dark more than six months after the Category 4 storm hit. Officials have said they expect power to be fully restored across the island by May, just days before the starts.

HUD already had allocated USD 1.5 billion to Puerto Rico in February for post-hurricane recovery efforts.

Maria hit on Sept. 20 and caused more than an estimated USD 100 billion in damage. It destroyed around 70,000 homes and damaged another 300,000.

HUD also said it plans to award the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands USD 1.6 billion in disaster recovery funds to help it recuperate from hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Both storms left the reeling. Hurricane Irma passed near St. John and St Thomas on September 6 as a Category 5 system, killing three people and causing widespread and significant destruction to homes and businesses.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 11 2018. 00:45 IST