(February 24, 2020 – Washington, D.C.) — Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced sent a letter to Senate Leadership urging swift consideration and passage of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2020, H.R. 5687. This bill would allocate critical disaster relief funding for Puerto Rico as a result of ongoing earthquakes that have affected the island since December 28, 2019. The U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 5687 on February 7, 2020, and the bill is now awaiting consideration in the Senate.
H.R. 5687 would allocate $4.89 billion in emergency supplemental funding to provide significant aid to Puerto Rico for educational needs, repairs to transportation and infrastructure, and disaster relief measures. It also includes important provisions that would provide Puerto Rico fungability to use funding provided in this legislation with funding included in previous emergency disaster supplementals.
After the Major Disaster Declaration (MDD) was signed on January 16th, 2020 19 additional municipalities have been included to receive federal assistance as estimates of damages continue to be calculated. Additionally, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has estimated that the ongoing seismic activity will continue for the foreseeable six months to a year. H.R. 5687 would provide critical aid that will allow for the restoration of infrastructure and provide housing while mitigating the potential harm from future natural disasters.
“We urge the U.S. Senate to consider and pass H.R. 5687 so that Puerto Rico can access critical resources in this great time of need,” said Jennifer M. Storipan, Esq. “We must guarantee access and assistance so that the people of Puerto Rico can continue to move forward with the island’s recovery.”