FEMA is a powerful partner in Puerto Rico’s recovery
By Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State of Puerto Rico Luis G. Rivera-Marín
October 30, 2017
While it is understandable that our constituents are impatient and remain shell-shocked by Hurricane Maria’s fury and the road toward recovery, the vast majority of Americans in Puerto Rico are grateful and optimistic about the future.
This sentiment is predominantly anchored in the rapid response of the federal agencies pre- and post-storm. To say otherwise is to play politics or, worse, to dabble in partisan deception to further personal agendas. Of the agencies that have taken part in rebuilding Puerto Rico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is the one I’ll single out after an experience that reconfirmed that local leadership at the municipal level is a must in order for FEMA’s mission to succeed.
Reviewing the aid provided by the federal government, specifically by FEMA, under the steady leadership of Administrator Brock Long, reveals that Washington’s response has and will be there for the U.S. citizens residing on the island. While numbers and statistics cannot convey information in the same manner as language or passionate political rhetoric, they simply do not lie. Data is available and verifiable. Long has personally verified his corps’ performance through his various visits to Puerto Rico during this emergency.
At present, FEMA, in coordination with other federal agencies hands out about 600,000 meals and 742,000 liters of water a day. It has conducted more than 700 airdrops in isolated areas of the island; removed 10,000 cubic yards of debris (which would fill Yankee stadium seven times over); and distributed some 42,000 tarps. To date, there are 17,000 federal employees throughout the island, 2,000 medical staff, and 750 pharmacies providing medicine, free of charge, under the emergency prescription-assistance program.
Puerto Rico will emerge brighter than before. Make no mistake about it. And we will do so, hand in hand, with our federal brethren, who have been bearing the brunt and weathering the winds and rain next to us since Day One. As a proud American, for that I am grateful.