Biden approves disaster declaration for Puerto Rico
President Biden issued a disaster declaration for Puerto Rico on Wednesday as the island territory continued reeling from the impacts of Hurricane Fiona.
“Today, I approved an Expedited Major Disaster Declaration for Puerto Rico in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona,” Biden said in a tweet. “I will continue to ensure the full force of the Federal government is mobilized to support the people of Puerto Rico.”
The disaster declaration opens up federal aid to the territory for temporary housing, home repairs, debris removal, emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation. Individuals can begin applying for assistance on Thursday.
“We appreciate the support for the people of Puerto Rico,” Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said on Twitter. “This action ensures our people will have access to additional help from (FEMA) to recover from the damage caused by this event.”
Biden had previously announced an emergency declaration on Sunday as the hurricane approached Puerto Rico. The entire island lost power on Sunday when Fiona struck the island, causing “catastrophic” flooding and mudslides.
Fiona comes just five years after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. The Trump administration was criticized at the time for what many considered to be a slow and insufficient response.