Chairman Crowley Surveys Damage in Puerto Rico, Receives Briefing on Recovery Efforts
(Queens, NY) – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) joined a congressional delegation to Puerto Rico on Saturday to survey on-the-ground recovery efforts and hear first-hand from Puerto Rican residents on what more the federal government must do to aid the island’s recovery following two catastrophic hurricanes.
The delegation was briefed by Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló, Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, military leaders, and representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the status of recovery efforts and what additional aid is needed to rebuild Puerto Rico. The delegation also distributed food and supplies to residents at a San Juan Point of Distribution and met with relief personnel at the Joint Field Office.
“There is no question that this will be a long, tough road for the people of Puerto Rico – one that the federal government must help them through for as long as it takes to make the island whole again,” said Chairman Crowley. “I want to thank the first responders, volunteers, and official personnel on the ground. It is evident they are doing everything within their power to revive Puerto Rico. While it is clear that some progress has been made, our fellow Americans are still living in dangerous situations with no clear idea of when their lives will return to normal. It was informative to hear from federal agency representatives on what specifically is being done to ensure the safety and security of those in Puerto Rico. I also appreciated the opportunity to relay the concerns many of my constituents have expressed to me regarding their loved ones, as well as their fellow citizens.”
The situation in Puerto Rico remains dire. Nearly 80 percent of Puerto Rico does not have electricity, while one million residents lack access to safe drinking water and some have been forced to drink water pumped in from a hazardous-waste site. Power is not expected to be returned completely to residents and businesses until December – three months after Hurricanes Maria and Irma devastated the island.
Chairman Crowley continued, “The federal government’s response to the humanitarian crisis was far too slow – putting our fellow Americans at risk. I’ve heard heart-breaking stories from constituents with family in Puerto Rico and saw today that far too many are still suffering. Our federal response must go beyond its current levels – Puerto Rico needs long-term relief that will help their economy and communities recover.”