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Some relief is coming for those affected by the 2020 earthquake in Puerto Rico. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images
Some relief is coming for those affected by the 2020 earthquake in Puerto Rico. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

Puerto Rico Legal Services receives $882k to help the victims of earthquake

The boost is pivotal for Puerto Rican locals who have been affected by the 2020 earthquake.

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On Jan. 7, 2020, Puerto Rico witnessed a fatal 6.4 magnitude earthquake that claimed the lives of Puerto Ricans, and left many injured. 

Another catastrophic earthquake occurred on the island on May 2, with a magnitude of 5.4, leaving Tallaboa, a suburb of Ponce, in shambles.

These earthquakes forced nearly 7,500 residents out of their homes and were placed in shelters and tents.

Two years later, the island is now receiving legal assistance in order to file for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) so they can get back on their feet.

Legal Services Corporation, an initiative that was launched in 1974 for residents to receive civil legal aid stated that they will give $38 million in grants to 19 civil legal aid organizations in regions impacted by natural disasters, including hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.

Puerto Rico Legal Services, a branch within Legal Services Corporation, will receive $882,140 of the $38 million to give to low-income residents who live Southwest of the island.

“Low-income people who confront civil legal issues in the wake of natural disasters face an uphill battle, and they shouldn’t have to go it alone,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “We are grateful that Congress recognizes the need for legal assistance in these recovering communities and provides this funding that will help our neighbors repair and stay in their homes, obtain key identification documents, apply for benefits and so much more.” 

Puerto Rico will use the grants to receive legal advice and representation in order to restore homes and other properties that were damaged by the natural disasters.

Other parts of America that are receiving assistance from this organization are Oregon, who's been affected by wildfires; California, who has also received an abundance of wildfires; and Louisiana, a state which became destructed in 2020 by Hurricanes Delta, Laura, and Ida.

Members of Congress were received with positive praise because of the new financial boost for states and territories in need.

“As our community struggles to recover from Hurricane Ida, COVID and other challenges, it is important that our own government doesn’t victimize its citizens through red tape, legal roadblocks and just not responding,” said Rep. Garret Graves (LA-6). 

“Legal Services Corporation has helped many of those in need navigate through the legal bureaucracy to get the help they need. This funding will provide the resources for attorneys to help with FEMA appeals, insurance claims and many other challenges,” he continued.

Puerto Rico is no stranger when it comes to natural disasters. The island is still reeling from the destruction led by Hurricane Irma, followed by Hurricane Maria the following month. The category five storm demolished a majority of the Caribbean in 2017. 

Maria resulted in 2,981 deaths in Puerto Rico, and around $9.99 billion in destruction.

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