Puerto Rico says FEMA will continue to provide aid to communities in need

Puerto Rico says FEMA will continue to provide aid to communities in need

The Puerto Rican government and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reached an agreement on Wednesday to maintain distribution of aid to Hurricane-ravaged communities, one day after FEMA said it would no longer provide food and water to the island.

“We are confident that FEMA will continue to provide the necessary assistance,” Hector Pesquera, Puerto Rico’s head of public security, said in a statement.

“The agreements between the federal government and the local government are focused on supporting people who remain in need after Hurricane Maria,” Pesquera added.

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FEMA tweeted that its work in Puerto Rico, which was ravaged by Hurricane Maria in September, would continue "from response to recovery."

NPR reported Tuesday that FEMA would end its distribution of free food and water, noting supermarkets and other shops have re-opened since the September storm. 

The decision drew backlash from Puerto Rican leaders and some U.S. lawmakers, who argued much of the island was still without power and access to food and clean water.

CNN reported last week that roughly half a million people on the island still don’t have electricity. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority said it had restored power to more than 1 million clients, or about 70 percent of its customers.

Puerto Rican officials said in Wednesday’s statement that there was no agreement to transfer FEMA’s responsibilities to the Puerto Rican government. As a result, FEMA will continue to distribute aids to communities that still need it, the statement said.