Puerto Rico is now a hub for emergency management in the region
(September 14, 2017 – Washington, DC) The State Government of Puerto Rico has been collaborating with President Donald J. Trump’s Administration in the repatriation of US citizens stranded in the Caribbean islands hardest hit by Hurricane Irma. Puerto Rico is also providing aid and temporary shelter to the local residents of the affected territories.
While Puerto Rico suffered extensive damage from the Hurricane, estimated at $600 million, its infrastructure and public services remain operational. This has allowed the US Territory to become a safe haven for those that experienced Irma’s harshest forces in the Lesser Antilles.
The US Department of State calculates that at the time Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean, over 6,000 US citizens were in the affected region. Over 2,000 of these citizens have been safely evacuated by Federal and Puerto Rican authorities. In partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services, Puerto Rico is also facilitating travel and access to Puerto Rican hospitals to those in need of medical assistance.
The Government is running an emergency relief center for the Caribbean region out of Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and has secured accommodations for the expected 4,000 refugees to arrive on the island in the coming days.
“I am grateful to president Trump’s Administration for trusting Puerto Rico with this historic endeavor. As the closest United States territory to the islands affected by Hurricane Irma, it is our duty to offer refuge to those in need. This is what America is all about”, stated Governor Rosselló.
World-renowned entrepreneur Richard Branson is currently collaborating with the Government in relief efforts for the British Virgin Islands. In an interview with a local digital paper, he stated that the Governor’s assistance has been “fantastic” and that he is “very appreciative” of his support.
“Puerto Rico suffered the impact of Hurricane Irma, yet even so our Island’s spirit of solidarity has opened our doors to aid and shelter our brothers and sisters of the Lesser Antilles who endured the worst of the hurricane’s havoc. That is one of the traits that distinguish us as a people and leads us to receive our neighbors from the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Saint Martin/Sint Maarten in our island in their time of need”, stated Jenniffer González who has remained in communication with the federal agencies and joined efforts with her fellow Members of Congress from affected states and territories to appropriate the emergency funding.
The Resident Commissioner has been in direct contact with the secretaries of FEMA, SBA, HHS, OMB, Red Cross, Corps of Engineers, and the White House for the approval of emergency funding.
The reconstruction of Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten, Saint-Barthelemy, the US and British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Barbuda, and other Caribbean territories and nations will likely take years. Governor Rosselló and Congresswoman González-Colón will continue to monitor the situation, and provide assistance as needed.