October 4th: Statewide Announcements

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Relief And Recovery Resources For The Citizens Of Puerto Rico

9/28/2017

BOSTON— In the wake of the devastating impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Baker-Polito Administration today outlined the efforts Massachusetts is undertaking to provide assistance to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, including the formation of a task force that will ensure that the state is prepared to support residents of Puerto Rico who chose to self-evacuate the island and seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts. State officials remain in communication with the Government of Puerto Rico and federal authorities and are ready and willing to offer emergency assistance, such as personnel and equipment, at the request of Puerto Rico.

“My heart breaks for the people of Puerto Rico, whose lives were turned upside down by the devastation of these merciless hurricanes,” said Governor Baker.  “Puerto Rican communities across Massachusetts have also been traumatized by images of the destruction and by fears that loved ones there are in danger.  Massachusetts is ready to welcome disaster survivors and our administration is preparing to support those who seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts. We stand 100% ready to send help to Puerto Rico, including personnel and equipment and will remain in constant communication with Puerto Rican officials as well as the federal authorities managing recovery efforts.”

“The damaging impacts of the back-to-back Hurricanes in Puerto Rico is unimaginable and our hearts go out to everyone affected by the storms, especially as many are still trying to make contact with loved ones,” said Lt. Governor Polito.  “Massachusetts is ready and willing to offer emergency management support to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico at their request, and we urge everyone looking to help to heed the requests of Puerto Rico by supporting disaster relief operations through cash donations to organizations listed on our state website.”
MEMA is in the process of working with federal and state agencies and non-profitorganizations to ensure that the state is ready to provide support for people who self-evacuate to Massachusetts from Puerto Rico.  The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to meeting the needs of disaster survivors who seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts by providing financial, housing, health care, jobs, and reunification services, as necessary. Representatives from MEMA, Housing and Community Development, Health and Human Services, Education and several other state and local agencies are convening to start preparations to support those who seek assistance in Massachusetts.

"The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the Massachusetts National Guar have assets and personnel at the ready and can mobilize them post-haste if called upon to do so," said Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Secretary Dan Bennett, who oversees both agencies. "Puerto Rico and her citizens are foremost in our minds and we have made all necessary preparations to provide maximum support to ease the terrible suffering there."

The administration has been informed by the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), which works closely with FEMA and coordinates state-to-state mutual aid through the EMAC system, that due to extreme logistical challenges in Puerto Rico, such as damaged infrastructure and reduced capabilities at air strips, officials are strongly discouraging self-deployment of personnel and unsolicited donations of goods.  At this time, Puerto Rico’s mutual aid needs are being met by the deployment of federal resources, and by using the EMAC system to facilitate assistance from states.  The public, which is eager to help, is being asked by Puerto Rico to make cash donations as follows:

·       You can help support the recovery & reconstruction of Puerto Rico by directing donations to United for Puerto Rico, at http://unitedforpuertorico.com<http://unitedforpuertorico.com/>.

·       Donate to the Red Cross, which is deeply involved in Puerto Rico’s relief operations, by visiting http://www.redcross.org<http://www.redcross.org/>

·       Donate to other disaster relief organizations working in Puerto Rico.  Many of these organizations are listed on the website of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD): https://www.nvoad.org/current-disasters/werespond/. The National VOAD asks people not to send unsolicited donated items.

Massachusetts is a member of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which functions as a national online system available for all states and territories, including Puerto Rico, to facilitate mutual aid and coordinate the provision of certain emergency management assets.  MEMA continues to regularly monitor and respond to EMAC requests and is ready, willing, and able to assist if a request is made that the Commonwealth is able to fulfill; indeed, MEMA responded to an EMAC request from Puerto Rico to provide an EMAC support team, but Puerto Rico confirmed that the capability had been filled by another state.

The Commonwealth is willing and able to deploy a wide array of personnel and equipment at the request of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, including but not limited to:

·        Sworn state and local police officers

·        National Guard personnel and resources

·        Hazardous Materials Technicians

·        Environmental Assessment Teams

·        Building, road and bridge inspectors

·        Incident Management Assistance Teams

·        Shelter supplies (cots, blankets, comfort kits) and Support Teams

·        Animal Rescue, Veterinarian Teams and Animal Shelter Teams

·        Swift and Moving Water Rescue Teams (personnel and boats)

·        Heavy equipment (dump trucks, plows, front end loaders, etc.)

·        Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Support Teams

·        Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) A-Team

·        Public Assistance Coordinators

·        Fire-Based Technical Rescue Teams

·        Mobile Command Centers

·        Public Safety Communications Support/Restoration Teams

·        Public Health Inspectors

·        Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialists

·        Coastal Zone Impact Assessment Personnel

·        Fire and Fire Code Inspectors

·        Saw crews

·        Public Information Officers

·        Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) staff

·        Disaster Mental Health Teams

·        Dive Teams
The Massachusetts National Guard (MANG) is in contact with the National Guard Bureau (NGB) as they work to identify and prioritize military resources needed for response operations in Puerto Rico.  Similar to the EMAC program, MANG is willing and able to assist in recovery efforts should federal officials identify and request one of their resources.


Baker-Polito Administration Announces Mobilization of Massachusetts National Guard to Puerto Rico for Hurricane Response and Recovery

Puerto Rico accepts Massachusetts offer for specialized communications team

9/29/2017

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced Puerto Rico’s official acceptance of an offer from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to mobilize a six person Massachusetts National Guard (MANG) communications unit to Puerto Rico for up to 30 days. The Joint Site Incident Satellite Communications Capability (JISCC) team will support satellite-based data and mobile communications on the island, where communication lines have been severely damaged.

“We are proud that members of the Massachusetts National Guard will mobilize to Puerto Rico to assist in the recovery operations on the island where lines of communications have been badly damaged,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “Massachusetts is ready and willing to offer additional support to Puerto Rico with personnel and equipment as requested and is preparing to welcome disaster survivors seeking temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts.  We will remain in contact with Puerto Rican officials and federal authorities throughout response and recovery efforts during this devastating time for all affected by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.”

The request for assistance from Puerto Rico came through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which is the national emergency management mutual aid system that facilitates state-to-state disaster assistance. A JISCC provides satellite-based Internet and radio capabilities to support interoperable civil-military communications.  Multiple National Guard JISCCs from around the U.S. have been mobilized or are in the process of mobilizing to Puerto Rico to support disaster relief operations. The mission is officially accepted and travel details, including the mobilization date, are being organized by the Massachusetts National Guard.

“The mobilization of this specialized National Guard team from Massachusetts will provide direct support to recovery operations and the citizens of Puerto Rico during this trying time,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “As we prepare to help with relief efforts for Puerto Rico and those residents who choose to self-evacuate to Massachusetts through the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund, we will continue to monitor requests for emergency assistance, and urge everyone looking to help to support disaster relief operations through cash donations listed on the state’s website.”

“In recent years, Massachusetts emergency response personnel have been mobilized to states across the nation to assist in the aftermath of all manner of natural disasters,” said Secretary of Public Safety Dan Bennett. “We are proud to continue this tradition by sending personnel to Puerto Rico and thank the emergency management personnel who represent the finest ideals of service to others.”

"The Massachusetts National Guard is committed to building enduring relationships with all our national and state partners. Our service members are prepared to assist and maximize transparency of Department of Defense and Commonwealth of Massachusetts National Guard activities in response to these tragic hurricanes that have struck Puerto Rico," said Major General Gary Keefe, Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard. "We are honored to offer our personnel and resources in this critical time of need and anticipate future mission taskings as we help the citizens of Puerto Rico recover from the devastation caused by these hurricanes."

“EMAC is a key component of our national emergency management enterprise,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “We have used EMAC many times to bolster our disaster response and recovery operations in Massachusetts, and as we did for Texas after Hurricane Harvey, we are able to support Puerto Rico as it deals with the impacts of these powerful storms.”

MEMA is preparing an additional EMAC offer to Puerto Rico of bilingual law enforcement officers. Further details will be provided when and if the offer is accepted by Puerto Rico. MEMA continues to monitor the EMAC system and look for opportunities to offer personnel, equipment and resources to Puerto Rico.

Earlier today, Governor Baker, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Representative Jeffrey Sánchez and members of the Boston Foundation announced<https://www.mass.gov/news/state-city-officials-and-the-boston-foundation-announce-the-massachusetts-united-for-puerto> the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund<http://www.tbf.org/puertorico> to support and respond to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricanes Maria and Irma.  The fund has been formed in partnership with the Latino Legacy fund and in cooperation with the Alliance for Puerto Rico. Funds raised will be distributed for reconstruction and relief on the island of Puerto Rico and to support self-evacuees arriving in Massachusetts from Puerto Rico for temporary or permanent residence.

Additionally, the Baker-Polito Administration yesterday announced<https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-relief-and-recovery-resources-for-the-citizens-of-puerto> the formation of a task force that will ensure that the state is prepared to support the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for individuals who chose to self-evacuate the island and seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts. State officials remain in communication with the Government of Puerto Rico and federal authorities and are ready and willing to offer emergency assistance, such as personnel and equipment, at the request of Puerto Rico.

Volunteers, Donations:

·       Donations - Donating cash to recognized disaster relief organizations is the best way to help people in need after a disaster. Cash donations are efficient, flexible to use, and require no transportation. Consider donating to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, or other disaster relief organization that is a member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD): https://www.nvoad.org/current-disasters/werespond/

·       Volunteers – Those looking to volunteer are encouraged to get involved with an established disaster relief organization.  This ensures that volunteer efforts are coordinated and that the needs of disaster communities and survivors are met.  People are asked not to self-deploy to a disaster area.  Information on volunteering is available through the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD): https://www.nvoad.org/current-disasters/werespond/


State, City Officials And The Boston Foundation Announce the
Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund

9/29/2017

BOSTON - Today, Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Representative Jeffrey Sánchez and members of the Boston Foundation announced the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund to support and respond to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricanes Maria and Irma.  The fund has been formed in partnership with the Latino Legacy fund and in cooperation with the Alliance for Puerto Rico. Funds raised will be distributed for reconstruction and relief on the island of Puerto Rico and to support self-evacuees arriving in Massachusetts from Puerto Rico for temporary or permanent residence.

“Our hearts break for the people of Puerto Rico and their Massachusetts-based families and friends, whose lives were turned upside down by the devastation of these merciless hurricanes,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “As the proud home of one of the largest groups of Puerto Rican American communities in the country, the Commonwealth is pleased to join the City of Boston and the Boston Foundation to create the ‘Massachusetts Puerto Rico Fund.’ We stand ready to extend heartfelt welcomes to disaster survivors who seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts and will provide any and all personnel and equipment requested throughout the recovery process. Lieutenant Governor Polito and I encourage all in Massachusetts to join us in supporting Governor Rosselló and our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico throughout this incredibly challenging time.”

"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Puerto Rican people, those who live here and those who are on the island, as they recover from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Maria," Mayor Martin J. Walsh said. "We have been in close communication with officials from Puerto Rico and, with such a strong Puerto Rican community here in Boston, they know we are here to help, for as long as they need."

This fund will be advised by an Advisory Committee of 10-12 experts from the Massachusetts Puerto Rican diaspora community, with Vanessa Calderon-Rosado serving as the Chairwoman and Representative Jeffrey Sánchez serving as the honorary Vice Chairman.  Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh will serve as honorary co-chairs to encourage all in Massachusetts to support this effort and Aixa Beauchamp and Juan Carlos Morales will serve on the executive committee.

“The apocalypse hit Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico's people are crying for help,” said Representative Jeffrey Sánchez. “The Puerto Rican community of our Commonwealth of Massachusetts is rallying with Gov. Baker and Mayor Walsh and myself in a unified guarantee that the community's vision becomes a reality. That vision is to assure that we rally together to make an impact with those organizations and individuals that are making a difference on the ground in helping the people of Puerto Rico.  Together, we can make a lasting impact in the lives of Puerto Rican families from our Commonwealth to our sister Commonwealth in the Caribbean.”

Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund will work to collect donations from foundations, corporations and individual donors, and quickly direct funds to effective resettlement, recovery and relief organizations supporting the people of Puerto Rico impacted by these devastating hurricanes.  Initial gifts will be used as challenge grants to the community for a wide-ranging fundraising appeal and up to one third of funds raised will be immediately distributed.  The remainder of the fund will be deployed through 2018, for reconstruction and economic recovery projects on the island of Puerto Rico and to support resettlement efforts in Massachusetts.

Additionally, the Baker-Polito Administration yesterday announced<https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-relief-and-recovery-resources-for-the-citizens-of-puerto> the formation of a task force that will ensure that the state is prepared to support the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for individuals who chose to self-evacuate the island and seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts. State officials remain in communication with the Government of Puerto Rico and federal authorities and are ready and willing to offer emergency assistance, such as personnel and equipment, at the request of Puerto Rico.
 

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Relief And Recovery Resources For The Citizens Of Puerto Rico