On Wednesday, the U.S. federal government declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico after the passage of Hurricane Fiona, which has left innumerable damages to homes and infrastructure, while a large part of the population continues without electricity or water.
Biden Declares State of Emergency in Puerto Rico Due to Hurricane Fiona
As explained by the U.S. Health Department Secretary Xavier Becerra, the emergency declaration grants Medicare to people over 65 and Medicaid to low-income citizens. It also gives healthcare providers more flexibility to respond to their urgent needs.
“We will do all we can to assist officials in Puerto Rico with responding to the impact of Hurricane Fiona. We are working closely with territory health authorities and our federal partners and stand ready to provide additional public health and medical support,” he said.
The U.S. Health Department (HHS) has also sent personnel to the island to determine if it needs to contribute more resources to help Puerto Rico.
"HHS has deployed a 15-person Health and Medical Task Force from its National Disaster Medical System and a 10-person incident management team to Puerto Rico," Becerra added.
On Tuesday, the Puerto Rican government asked President Joe Biden's administration to declare a "major disaster" on the island as a result of the damage caused by Fiona.
This happened five years after the disaster caused by Hurricane Maria on Sept. 20, 2017, when thousands of Puerto Ricans also experienced dramatic situations like the ones they are going through right now.