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TRUMP SAYS: Virgin Islands Gov’t Won’t Have To Pay For Debris Removal, Emergency Home Repairs

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Additional federal disaster relief and recovery assistance has been authorized for the United States Virgin Islands at the request of the territory’s government, Governor Kenneth Mapp said.

“This announcement means that we should not have to pay any share of the costs for debris removal or emergency home repairs,” Mapp said. “It represents tens of millions of dollars in cost savings to the Virgin Islands.”

President Donald Trump made additional disaster assistance available to the U.S. Virgin Islands by authorizing an increase in the level of federal funding for disaster relief as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Under the President’s order, the federal share for Other Needs Assistance under section 408 of the Stafford Act and all categories of Public Assistance is authorized at 90 percent, except for assistance otherwise approved at 100 percent.

“We remain grateful to President Trump and all our federal partners for working with us to ensure that the Virgin Islands is truly able to rebuild smarter and stronger,” Mapp said. “We requested an adjustment to the cost share and an extension on the length of time that we could access appropriated funds. I am so pleased at the response, particularly when it comes to the territory’s hazard mitigation projects.”

The amended disaster declaration allows for certain projects to protect the territory from future storm damage to be 100 percent federally funded. Prior to the amendment the local government was required to share at least 25 percent of the costs.

The rarely granted 100 percent coverage in this area is the direct result of a meeting that Governor Mapp had in April with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator William “Brock” Long and Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

“We have additional time and money available to remove debris, fix homes and mitigate damage from future storms,” the governor said. “This is great news for the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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