Biden heads to Puerto Rico to view Hurricane Fiona carnage, to announce $60 million in recovery funds: At least 100,000 residents STILL without power after two weeks
- The president is flying to Puerto Rico on Monday to see hurricane damage
- The hurricane is the latest storm to knock out the island’s power grid
- Power has been restored to 90 percent of the island, officials say
- Biden plans to announce $60 million for levees and flood systems
- The president will visit Florida on Wednesday
- He and Gov. Ron DeSantis have collaborated on disaster relief
- New focus on Lee County’s decision to delay evacuation
- Officials are still assessing the massive destruction in Florida
President Joe Biden is making the first of two out-of-town trips to see U.S. communities ravaged by storms when he visits Puerto Rico on Monday amid a rush to respond to massive storms that lashed the U.S. territory and Florida.
The president, who leaves Washington on Monday morning, will announce fresh help from the mainland for storm protection after Hurricane Fiona battered the island last month, while showing sympathy for storm victims on the US territory.
On Wednesday, he will head to Florida, where officials are still measuring the massive effects of Hurricane Ian, where the death toll has already risen to 87.
“I’m going to Puerto Rico because they haven’t been taken care of very well,” Biden said as he left the White House to begin his trip.
“Our hearts, to state the obvious — it can’t go without saying — are heavy from the devastating hurricane and storms in Puerto Rico, Florida and South Carolina,” Biden said Saturday in DC at an event for the Congressional Black Caucus.
“We owe Puerto Rico a hell of a lot more than they’ve already gotten,” he said.
A flooded street is seen after the passage of Hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico, on September 19, 2022. President Joe Biden is visiting the island on Monday and plans to visit Florida on Wednesday to see storm damage from Hurricane Ian
He plans to announce $60 million in aid, with funds drawn from the already-passed infrastructure bill, to ‘support levees, strengthen flood walls and create a new flood warning system to help Puerto Rico be better prepared for future storms,’ reported Reuters. .
The funds are a fraction of what lawmakers will seek for a comprehensive relief package, with Florida leading the push for relief.
Fiona knocked out power to large parts of the island. Energy Minister Jennifer Granholm says power has been restored to 90 percent of the island.
That leaves about 137,000 without power on an island with 1.5 million customers and 3.2 million people.
Biden will continue his twin tours by seeing the devastation on Florida’s west coast
Ian ravaged Fort Myers. The destruction has prompted a review of county officials’ decision to delay the evacuation by a day
“We owe Puerto Rico a hell of a lot more than they’ve already gotten,” President Biden said Saturday
The storm has brought into focus the ability of Biden and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to work together in the recovery phase
Former President Donald Trump famously threw paper towel rolls into a crowd in San Juan during his 2017 visit after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island’s infrastructure
“We see what you’re going through and we’re with you,” Biden said.
The last US president to visit the island was Donald Trump, who clashed with Democratic elected officials on the island and threw paper towel rolls into a crowd in San Juan during a 2017 visit after Hurricane Maria battered the island.
Florida’s two GOP senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, took to the airwaves Sunday to push for funding, though Rubio was forced to defend his vote against emergency aid to respond to Hurricane Sandy as it devastated New York and parts of northeastern.
On Sunday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio spoke about the massive destruction in Fort Myers, appearing on ABC’s ‘This Week.’
“I don’t think it has a comparison, not in Florida,” he said.
“Fort Myers Beach no longer exists,” said Rubio, who has served as a senator from the Sunshine State since 2011. “It needs to be rebuilt,” he continued. ‘It will be something else. It was a piece of old Florida that you can’t recapture.’