• Live
    • Audio Only
  • google plus
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • Puerto Rico and United States flags flying against hurricane winds.

    Puerto Rico and United States flags flying against hurricane winds. | Photo: EFE

Published 1 April 2019
Opinion

Hurricane Maria which in 2017 devastated Puerto Rico is comparable in magnitude of its destruction to the worst natural disasters ever registered in U.S. territory.

The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, urged the U.S. Senate Sunday to approve H.R. 268, passed by the House of Representatives that allocates US$14.2 billion for natural disaster relief.

RELATED

I Have Helped Puerto Rico More Than Any Living Human: Trump

Puerto Rico has been desperate for help ever since the devastating effects of hurricanes Irma and María. This measure would provide economic aid to those territories for infrastructure, education, housing and food programs, Rossello explained in written statements, pointing out that the only food program Puerto Rico benefits from is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serving 1.3 million citizens.

With the U.S. government stepping up efforts in Venezuela to create destabilization in on-going coup attempts, it is trying to burnish its image as humanitarian savior of the world. However, with Puerto Rico, there seems to be absolutely no interest in providing any relief for the people who still suffer the consequences of Hurricane Maria which hit the island in 2017.

Indeed, this measure was introduced by House Democrats as a response to Donald Trump's budget request asking for money for a border wall, according to govtrack.us.

"Puerto Rico must receive these federal resources, necessary to sufficiently complete its recovery and reconstruction in a timely manner, and assist the more than 3 million U.S. citizens who reside on the island and who are recovering day by day from the hurricanes," said Rossello.

With respect to SNAP, the governor reiterated that the program is in "desperate need" of the US$600 million that they requested, but which was not been approved because, as he alleges, Puerto Rico does not receive the federal assistance it deserves based on its inequality with other U.S. jurisdictions.

Puerto Rico has been a U.S. territory since 1898 and is defined as a Commonwealth, with its own Constitution and with a significant degree of autonomy. The U.S. reserves jurisdiction over defense, currency, immigration and customs, among others.

"The devastation left by Hurricane Maria has diminished our resources," said Rossello, who said that currently, the government of Puerto Rico does not have enough funds to cover the payment requirements advanced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

RELATED

US: Lawmakers Table Bill to Make Puerto Rico 51st State Amid Governor's Tiffs With Trump

"We are asking for the same commitment that other jurisdictions have received from the federal government, so that it covers 100% of the payments for emergency work that will accelerate the recovery," he added.

Hurricane Maria which in 2017 devastated Puerto Rico is comparable in magnitude of its destruction to the worst natural disasters ever registered in U.S. territory.

The cyclone force winds affected all basic services on the island, especially the Electric Power Authority and the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority.

Governor Rossello also asked for US$500 million in aid to continue repairs to potable water service.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) needs US$25 million to finish the San Juan’s Caño Marin Peña project, which is a prone flood area housing 23,000 residents.

"Also, while we rebuild the power grid, we are asking for US$15 million in technical assistance from the federal Energy Department so we can rebuild a better, stronger and more resilient network than we had," he said.

Comment
0
Comments
Post with no comments.