“The truth is that we’re here because this is ours,” said a frustrated resident who is still missing part of his roof.
Houses affected by Hurricane Maria, some of them with their missing roofs covered in sturdy blue tarp, stand in the middle of the El Gandul neighborhood, in San Juan, Puerto Rico on June 13, 2018.Carlos Giusti / AP
After hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans were denied FEMA assistance to rebuild their homes after Hurricane Maria, most of the families who have appealed the agency’s decision have not received aid.
FEMA has either denied or not answered 79 percent — almost eight-in-ten — of the appeals, leaving residents and officials worried about the fate of their dwellings as the island faces another hurricane season.
After denying at least 335,748 applications from thousands of Puerto Ricans asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance to fix their hurricane-ravaged homes, many decided to appeal the agency’s decision to not grant them aid.
As of July 12, “there have been more than 43,000 appealed cases from survivors of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Of those, more than 7,500 have been approved and more than 34,000 have been deemed ineligible,” said Lenisha Smith, a FEMA spokesperson, in a statement to NBC News.