Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) this morning said the Natural Resources Committee is closely monitoring relief efforts following magnitude 6.4 and 5.6 earthquakes originating in southwestern Puerto Rico. Grijalva called on the Trump administration to disburse still unused Hurricane Maria disaster recovery funding and prepare to release earthquake disaster aid without delay.
Thanks in large part to the lack of federal response, the island and its people are still struggling to recover from the 2017 hurricane – a fate that Grijalva said cannot be repeated.
Following the earthquakes, structures and homes have collapsed, rock slides have occurred, at least one death has already been reported, and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority announced widespread outages. For Trump-directed agencies to fail to respond quickly and professionally would be a severe dereliction of duty that would call for a congressional response, Grijalva said.
“The residents of Puerto Rico have repeatedly shown strength and resiliency in the face of tragedy, but those are no substitute for adequate government assistance,” Grijalva said today. “The Trump administration’s indifference and incompetence have already cost residents of Puerto Rico their lives and their livelihoods, and continuing that pattern now is completely unacceptable. When Congress appropriates disaster recovery funds, they need to be used wisely as soon as possible. I urge this administration to remember that lives are at stake and the public is watching.”
The U.S. Geological Survey has warned that aftershocks may continue on the island, raising the possibility of future damage.
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