HUD awards Puerto Rico $1.5 billion for hurricane recovery

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(WTNH/AP)–Hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico is receiving a financial lifeline. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded the island $1.5 billion to help it recover from hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The money will be used for long-term recovery of seriously damaged homes and businesses. Nearly half a million customers are still without power in Puerto Rico.

This is welcome news for islanders after reports that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) intended to cut off food and water supplies to Puerto Rico last week.Related: FEMA criticized for plan to end storm aid in Puerto Rico

FEMA spokesman William Booher told The Associated Press that the agency has been evaluating whether enough stores and supermarkets reopened by Jan. 31 to justify ending distribution of food and water to municipal governments on the island. He said no decision has been made and officials mistakenly made the date public this week.

Booher said FEMA is in the process of winding down food and water distribution as stores and markets come back online, but he stressed it will continue to distribute aid to needy towns for the foreseeable future.

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