Story at a glance
- The aid will be given to repair the territory’s energy and education systems as the island is still reeling from the destruction of Maria.
- The hurricane hit Puerto Rico with 155 mph winds and more than 3 feet of rain, decimating the island’s power grid.
- Prominent Democrats slammed the administration for the delay in the badly needed funds.
The Trump administration is set to announce an $11.6 billion disaster relief package for Puerto Rico on Friday, three years after the territory was devastated by Hurricane Maria, Fox News reports.
The aid will be given to repair the territory’s energy and education systems as the island is still reeling from the destruction of Maria. The hurricane hit Puerto Rico with 155 mph winds and more than 3 feet of rain, decimating the island’s power grid.
The disaster aid packages would be the largest in U.S. history, according to CBS reporter David Begnaud who reported the move by the Trump administration Thursday.
Scoop: Tomorrow, the White House will announce several major disaster aid packages for Puerto Rico, amounting to the largest allotment of disaster aid in U.S. history. Most of the money will be used to rebuild the power grid that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria, 3yrs ago today.— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) September 18, 2020
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday said the funds were “overdue” and accused the Trump administration of dragging its feet in delivering the much-needed aid.
“Long before the hurricanes, Puerto Rico had a crumbling and dirty energy grid. After the storms utterly destroyed the grid, it created an opportunity to rebuild a cleaner, cheaper and more resilient energy system, but the Trump administration dithered and delayed and refused to deliver timely disaster aid for the people of Puerto Rico,” Schumer said in a statement.
“I will work with the Puerto Rican community to see that these long overdue and desperately needed funds are put to use in a wise way,” Schumer added.
Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) called the delay in aid unacceptable and said the decision was based on politics.
“Puerto Rico has been desperate for federal assistance to modernize and upgrade its electrical grid for years, especially since Hurricane Maria inflicted the longest blackout in modern history on the Island,” she said.
“Now, forty-seven days before the election, the Administration has finally seen fit to release these funds. While I certainly hope to see this money put to good use making Puerto Rico’s electrical system more resilient, these delays are unacceptable, and it is insulting to Puerto Ricans everywhere that the Administration is so blatantly playing politics with this aid,” she added.
Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017, as a strong Category 4 hurricane. It made landfall on the southeast coast of Yabucoa with winds whipping at 155 mph. More than 3,000 people were killed as a result of the storm.
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