As Puerto Ricans work to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Fiona, President Biden has vowed that the federal government is prepared to assist in its full force. While speaking in New York at a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, Biden stated that hundreds of specialists and FEMA professionals are currently on the ground in Puerto Rico. A stunning 490,000 people remained without power in Puerto Rico, nine days after Fiona tore through the islands. Local officials have declined to speculate when service will be fully restored.
During the event, Biden promised Puerto Ricans that his government would do “everything we can to meet the urgent needs you have.” He also mentioned the parallels between Fiona and Hurricane Maria, adding that many residents have yet to fully recover from the last hurricane which caused colossal damage five years ago. At the New York meeting, President Biden also stated that federal utility crews were set to make the trip to Puerto Rico to help restore power to especially isolated and vulnerable areas.
Thus far, the President has authorized the deployment of FEMA incident response teams, Mobile Emergency Response Support, Staging Management Teams, and Mobile Communication Office Vehicle operators. The United States Small Business Administration is currently making low-interest disaster loans available to residents, non-profits, and business owners in eligible Puerto Rican municipalities. A water distribution task force made up of members of the federal government is coordinating a delivery system for communities that have been isolated from the effects of the hurricane. The Army Corps of Engineers is working to install generators at critical facilities and staging additional generators to support unique requests. Biden noted at the briefing that “We are all in this together.” His federal response involves an assessment of damage as well as immediate disaster response.