View of a sailboat dragged to the shore by strong waves in the Bay of Samana, following the passing of Hurricane Fiona, in Samana, Dominican Republic on September 20, 2022.
Erika Santelices | AFP | Getty Images
President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the government would cover costs linked to Hurricane Fiona relief in Puerto Rico completely for another month.
“I’ve authorized 100% 100% federal funding for debris removal, search and rescue, water restoration and shelter and food for your month,” Biden said. “To individuals of Puerto Rico that are still hurting from Hurricane Maria five years later, they ought to know that we have been with you. We’re not likely to walk away. After all it.”
Hurricane Fiona caused catastrophic damage across Puerto Rico, leaving a lot more than 1.4 million people without power in the immediate aftermath. The storm, which dropped around 30 inches of rain in a few areas, cut electricity and usage of running water for some of the island.
Biden made the announcement at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Region 2 headquarters at One World Trade Center in NEW YORK.
The president on Wednesday approved a significant disaster declaration for Puerto Rico. That followed a crisis declaration he approved Sunday prior to the hurricane made landfall, and allows FEMA to provide direct payments to those affected for temporary housing and home repairs. Beneath the declaration, FEMA may also offer low-cost loans.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell traveled to the island on Tuesday to assess damage. She sat beside Biden at the briefing in NY.
“We’re laser-focused on what’s happened to people in Puerto Rico again. We’re talking almost to your day, at the very least to the week, five years after Hurricane Maria was devastating [the island],” Biden said. “We’re surging federal resources to Puerto Rico and we’ll do everything, everything we are able to to attain the urgent needs they will have.”
Providing aid to Puerto Rico was among Biden’s campaign pledges. He previously said former President Donald Trump “made things worse” for the island along with his reaction to Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Nearly 3,000 people died on the island due to the storm, which left thousands without power for months.