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Flood Situation Under Control, Governor Asks Bush For Federal Aid

November 11, 2001
Copyright © 2001 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Four days after the start of the torrential rains that flooded many sectors, 313 people continue to be lodged in 12 shelters habilitated by the government, according to State Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Ileana Rivera.

The official emphasized Saturday that despite the disastrous flooding that affected the greater part of the island since Wednesday, the heavy rains passed without leaving one fatal victim.

"We have to be really happy because despite the magnitude of the emergency, where we had in one instance up to seven rivers burst banks... where we had serious flooding in some sectors, we can sing victory because we did not lose a single life," she said in a radio interview. "This is definitely a great achievement because these emergencies are measured from that perspective, because we are always going to suffer damages."

Gov. Sila Calderon traveled Saturday through several northern sectors of the island that were affected by the heavy rains.

In declaring 27 municipalities in a state of emergency, the governor ordered the first payment of $5 million from the Emergency Fund to assist the victims.

She also asked President George W. Bush to declare a disaster zone in the island, which would allow the dispatch of more federal funds.

Calderon informed the president that the losses caused by the rains and landslides have risen to $75 million, according to preliminary information offered by the mayors of the affected municipalities.

"I have determined that this situation if of a severe magnitude that offering an effective response is beyond the capacity of the Commonwealth and the municipal authorities, for which supplemental federal aid is necessary," reads the letter sent to Bush.

Meanwhile, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) informed Saturday the virtual total reestablishment of electricity to its customers.

The agency indicated in its most recent report on noon Saturday that only 442 customers remain without electricity throughout the island.

This figure represents .03% of the corporation's clientele, which totals 1.39 million customers, the report said.

Prepa spokeswoman Ada Torres Toro said the remaining breakdowns will be corrected throughout the day Saturday.


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