US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
The top priority of the federal government is pushing forward to provide life safety and life sustaining resources to the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
FEMA and its federal partners continue 24-hour operations to conduct life-saving rescue and medical missions, clear routes of debris, restore emergency communications and power generation, and maintain a heavy flow of meals, water and other commodities for communities. We were here when the storm hit, and we will be here throughout the response and recovery.
We remain committed to put forth the full effort of the federal government to overcome the complex challenges requiring a phased approach to the delivery of personnel, resources and equipment to move the resources, and provide lodging for responders.
There are more than 12,600 federal staff representing 36 departments and agencies, including more than 800 FEMA personnel, on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands engaged in response and recovery operations from Hurricanes Maria and Irma. Hundreds of additional federal personnel are supporting response and recovery operations through mainland coordination centers and logistics facilities.
Teams are on the ground meeting with survivors, providing meals and water, conducting wellness checks and connecting families. All municipalities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been reached. FEMA and its federal partners have cleared debris to gain access to ports, airports and roadways; and at the same conducted search and rescue operations, assessed hospitals and moved meals and water onto and around the islands.
For updates from Puerto Rico on the operational status of hospitals, food and water distribution centers, gas stations, dialysis centers, supermarkets and other information, please visit: www.status.pr.
It will take time to get power restored to many areas, but work is underway between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Energy, local power authorities and the private sector to get power restored in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The U.S. Coast Guard continues to assess ports, with 70 percent of ports open and conducting operations on Puerto Rico; and in the U.S. Virgin Islands, one remaining port is being assessed while all the other ports are opened and deemed operational.
Power is being restored to hospitals, and all hospital assessments are complete. In Puerto Rico, power is restored to nine hospitals and 59 hospitals are operational to care for current patients, or receiving patients, with one fully operational. One Department of Veterans Affairs hospital is open, and five are open for walk-ins.
Drinking water is being restored. The U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority drinking water system is back online, and 45 percent of customers in Puerto Rico have access to drinking water.
In Puerto Rico, 50 percent of the major roads are cleared of debris and open; eleven highways are open. Most highways on St. Croix are open with caution.
The private sector also is a key part of recovery. In Puerto Rico, 49 percent of grocery and big box stores are open, more than 60 percent of retail gas stations are operating, and more businesses continue to open. These openings are crucial beginning steps in Puerto Rico’s recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) teams covered 100 percent of the islands. FEMA US&R task forces saved or assisted 843 individuals, while searching over 2,600 structures
The outpouring of support that is being offered from across the nation, combined with the selfless dedication of volunteers shows the compassion and unity of Americans helping Americans. To donate or volunteer for the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico, contact the voluntary or charitable organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (NVOAD) at www.nvoad.org.
NVOAD is coordinating closely with the Puerto Rico Governor’s Office on offers of assistance. To make a cash donation directly to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, visit www.unitedforpuertorico.com.
- Centro Médico Hospital in San Juan is serving as a central designated medical facility and has seen 248 patients, with seven regional hubs for medical support. A mobile hospital is activated, expanding patient capacity. In Puerto Rico, power has been restored to nine hospitals. HHS Disaster Medical Assistance teams are assisting with support of medical needs in Fajardo, Mayaguez, Arecibo and Ponce.
- Assessment of the Myra Keating Medical Facility on St. John is complete and repairs to this facility are a top priority.
- The Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix is established as a mobile hospital and the Schneider Regional Medical Center in St. Thomas will resume patient services in the coming days. In Puerto Rico, 95 percent of dialysis centers in Puerto Rico are open and accessible for patients. More critical care facilities will re-open in the coming days as power and access are restored.
- Medical evacuations continue from the U.S. Virgin Islands for critical need dialysis patients.
Delivery of Commodities
- Trucks are leaving ports and airports to deliver commodities to regional staging areas and points of distribution throughout Puerto Rico.
- Officials in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico opened points of distribution (POD) in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for survivors to get meals, water and other commodities. The Governor of Puerto Rico established 11 Regional Staging Areas around the island, serving all 78 municipalities. The Salvation Army is supporting seven feeding sites in Puerto Rico.
- FEMA, working in coordination with federal partners, provided millions of meals and millions of liters of water to Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Additional meals and water continue to arrive to the islands daily via air and sea.
- Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) communications assets and personnel continue to support the FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT), Urban Search and Rescue (US&R), National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) and other federal teams in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are more than 30 MERS personnel in Puerto Rico and more than 20 MERS personnel in the USVI.
- A U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) mobile communications team is in Puerto Rico to help improve communications across the storm-impacted area.
- Mail service returned to Puerto Rico Friday through the United States Postal Service. Limited handout mail service began Friday at 49 locations in Puerto Rico. Forty-one of these locations are also able to provide postal retail services.
- Limited handout mail service, along with limited retail service, begins today in St. Croix. Limited mail service continues in St. Thomas. On St. John, limited mail service continues.
- All commercial airports in Puerto Rico are operational. Recovery efforts are now supporting more than a dozen commercial passenger flights per day at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. On Sept. 28, SJU accommodated 25 commercial flights and processed 5,000 ticketed passengers. Six military/hurricane relief flights are arriving at SJU per day.
- Roosevelt Roads, Ponce and Aguadilla Airports in Puerto Rico are open for all flights.
- Thomas Airport is open to limited commercial aircraft, and St. Croix Airport is open with restrictions.
The U.S. Coast Guard reports the following port statuses with additional ports opening as assessments continue:
- Puerto Rico
Open: Port of San Juan, Guayanilla, Salinas, and Tallaboa
Open with restrictions: Arecibo, Fajardo, Culebra, Guayama, Mayaguez, Ponce, Vieques and Yabucoa
- U.S. Virgin Islands
Open: St. Thomas: Charlotte Amalie, East Gregerie Channel, Crown Bay, West Gregerie Channel; St. Croix: Krause Lagoon, Frederiksted, Limetree Bay
Open with Restrictions: St. Thomas: Redhook Bay; St. John: Cruz Bay; St. Croix to St Thomas ferry is running Gallows Bay 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration survey ship Thomas Jefferson is assisting with surveying of the port of Roosevelt Roads.
Life Safety and Life Sustaining
- The Department of Defense (DoD) continues to operate from Roosevelt Roads Airfield, executing route clearance, commodity and fuel distribution, as well as providing helicopter support to assist officials from Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) complete assessments of all Puerto Rican hospitals. This effort includes 75 aircraft to deliver personnel and commodities to support communities in Puerto Rico. The 249th U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed ten generator installs with ten more underway to power critical infrastructure.
- The use of medium lift helicopters allows for the flow of needed commodities such as food, water and fuel to remote areas disconnected from traditional supply lines. Six additional medium lift helicopters arrived in Puerto Rico to continue commodity distribution to affected areas.
- The U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority drinking water system is back online, and other drinking water systems on the islands are top priority for receiving generators. Additionally, the Concordia potable water pump station is online in St. Croix.
- The U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority, Waste Management and USACE are addressing potential public health risks of garbage build up; coordinating route clearance of wires and poles to enable garbage haulers to access the St. Thomas landfill.
- The National Guard Bureau (NGB) has thousands of Guard members on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands taking part in security and support operations. The Air National Guard is focused on transporting food, water and communications capabilities as well as rapidly increasing airlift into affected areas.
Fuel, Transportation, and Debris
- The U.S. Virgin Islands territorial governments and FEMA confirmed the territory will execute St. Croix debris removal mission with local contractors; USACE Debris Teams will continue to provide technical assistance.
- Croix and St. Thomas report adequate fuel supply on the islands for power generation and response efforts, including gasoline, diesel and propane.
- USACE temporary power response teams are on the ground in Puerto Rico and USVI, assessing power needs and installing generators at critical facilities. Teams have completed more than 170 inspections, and more than 200 assessments have been requested for facilities. Generator installations are underway in both Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands with 20 installations completed.
- The National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) is working with private sector companies to reach additional truck drivers throughout Puerto Rico to enable commodities to reach more remote parts of the island. NBEOC is working with government and private sector entities to aid in the response to Hurricane Maria.
- Federal forces and more than 200 federally-supported contract personnel are supporting the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation with clearance of debris that prevents access to major roadways.
- The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) made $40 million available to the PR Highways and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) for emergency relief work to impacted roads. Emergency Relief work will consist of the stabilization and repair of impacted roadway embankments, reconstruction of damaged roadways, safety guardrails, lighting, the repair/replacement of the traffic signal devises and highway signage.
- Twenty-six chainsaw teams and one Incident Management Team (IMT) from the Department of Agriculture United States Forest Service are in Puerto Rico conducting emergency road clearance with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Department of Transportation (DOT), and Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA). A fourteen-person team from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is supporting debris removal and tree clearing to restore road access in Vieques.
- S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) debris experts are assisting FEMA with debris management strategies in Puerto Rico, along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- The federal government is working with its interagency and private sector partners to support availability, transportation and delivery of fuel based on priorities identified by Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Information for Survivors
- For those in declared areas who are able to do so, registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance. 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 recent hurricanes.
- The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a free public reunification tool that allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to search for loved ones, or for individuals to indicate that they are safe. The site is always available, open to the public and available in English and Spanish. There are a number of ways to use this service:
Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website.
Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876. Messages exist in both Spanish and English.
To speak with someone at the American Red Cross concerning a missing friend or relative please contact 1-800 Red Cross (1-800-733-2767).
The American Red Cross Emergency App features an “I’m Safe” button that allows users to post a message to their social accounts, letting friends and family know they are out of harm’s way. The app can be downloaded for free in app stores by searching for “American Red Cross” or by texting ‘GETEMERGENCY’ to 90999.
- Anyone who finds a child who may be separated from parents or caregivers, please contact the local police and enter basic information and/or a photo into the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Unaccompanied Minors Registry. If you find an unaccompanied child, please indicate whether the child has a disability or has access and functional needs in the appropriate field in the Unaccompanied Minors Registry. If you do not have access to the internet, please call 1-866-908-9570.
- The USACE Blue Roof program is active in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Forty-three Blue Roofs are installed in the U.S. Virgin Islands to date.
- FEMA is raising awareness that Hurricane Maria disaster survivors and their friends and family should be alert for false rumors, scams, identity theft and fraud. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Visit FEMA’s Hurricane Rumor Control page to get the most accurate information from trusted sources.
- President Trump issued major disaster declarations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Stay off the roads. Emergency workers are assisting people in flooded areas or cleaning up debris. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings that are damaged.
- Ensure water is safe to drink, cook or clean with after a flood. Oftentimes a boil water order is put in place following a flood.
- Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.
Additional information for the U.S. Virgin Islands is available at the following locations:
Additional information for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is available at:
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