Supporting Puerto Rico’s Disaster Recovery Planning
In September 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico causing widespread destruction and exacerbating challenges in a region already coping with long-term economic issues. The Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC) supported development of Puerto Rico’s economic and disaster-recovery plan. HSOAC collected and analyzed damage and needs information from across Puerto Rico, and developed and costed recovery actions that addressed multiple areas of need: economic recovery and resilience, physical infrastructure, human recovery, connecting with communities, and natural and cultural resources. This extensive analysis is made publicly available to support recovery efforts.
To assist Puerto Rico’s recovery, the U.S. Congress included appropriations for recovery activities within the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. It required the governor of Puerto Rico, in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies, to report to Congress on Puerto Rico’s 12- and 24-month economic and disaster-recovery plans.
To support the development of the plan, HSOAC worked with the government of Puerto Rico, agency heads, mayors, community leaders, subject matter experts, citizens, and more than 100 federal offices and agencies.
At FEMA’s request, HSOAC supported development of the plan by collecting and integrating stakeholder inputs, contributing analysis where needed, and assisting with drafting content. The plan, which the governor delivered to Congress on August 8, 2018, included an overview of damage and needs, courses of action to meet those needs, costs of the courses of action, and potential funding mechanisms for those costs.
Historically, disaster relief in the United States has been allocated in response to ad hoc requests for assistance from individuals, businesses, and government agencies. But as the cascading failure of systems caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria demonstrated, there are significant interdependencies across sectors, with big implications for a resilient recovery.
HSOAC’s team of more than 150 people undertook the following activities over a six-month period:
Engage partners and stakeholders.
Assess damage and needs.
Develop recovery actions.
Cost recovery actions.
Identify potential funding.
Given the scope and scale of recovery planning—as well as the tight deadline for Puerto Rico's recovery plan—HSOAC organized into sector teams that aligned with FEMA’s organizational response structure. Sector teams were responsible for collecting and analyzing damage and needs information and for developing and costing recovery actions in their respective areas of expertise. The teams’ data collection and analytic work is presented in sector-based volumes grouped according to five overarching themes:
Please note that the sector-based approach is no longer being used for FEMA-4339-DR operations. In coordination with the government of Puerto Rico, the National Public Assistance Delivery Model was implemented in June of 2019 and is currently in use in Puerto Rico. This may cause a variance in the courses of action described in these reports.
Following the 2017 hurricane season, the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested a review of Puerto Rico's hurricane damage and recovery needs. This report summarizes the resulting cross-sector analysis of history, conditions, and needs.
This report describes the work done on estimating the costs of, and identifying potential funding sources for, Puerto Rico's economic and disaster recovery plan. Total estimated cost is $139 billion, with up to $94 billion of funding available.
Get in touch with the HSOAC Puerto Rico project team.
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