Sunday, October 22, 2017

President Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico confirmed, date unknown

By on September 24, 2017

SAN JUAN — On Sunday, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares said that although U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico is confirmed, the exact date on which he will arrive to the island is still unknown.

“On the presidential visit, we have confirmation that [Trump] is coming, but I do not know what day. The idea was that his staff would arrive on Friday, but the hurricane [María] arrived before the [visit] could take place,” the governor told Caribbean Business during a press conference at the Convention Center in Miramar.

Rosselló, moreover, said that the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Brock Long, will arrive to Puerto Rico on Monday to assess damages and collaborate in the recovery efforts related to Hurricane Maria. It would be Long’s second visit to the island in the past two weeks, as he previously visited following the passage of Hurricane Irma.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will also travel to Puerto Rico on Monday, said Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez during another press conference.

González further said that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rob Bishop (R-UT), and Senate Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also have plans to visit the island. However, the date of their trips have yet to be confirmed.

The resident commissioner, who plans to request billions in federal funds for infrastructure, housing and highway recovery, said she is awaiting for her return flight to Washington, D.C., to be rescheduled.

Nevertheless, González plans to spend only a few days in the U.S. capital, because she wants to continue collaborating on the island during the recovery efforts and assessment of damages caused by Hurricane María.

“Puerto Rico had never suffered a devastation, impact or emergency like this. This has been the largest disaster that Puerto Rico has experienced in the past 60 to 70 years,” said González, who said that the country has gone back “20 or 30 years back.”

More than 500 people from the U.S. came to help

Gov. Rosselló said that, at the moment, between 500 and 600 people in brigades from federal agencies have arrived so far to Puerto Rico to collaborate with the rescue and recovery efforts.

Specifically, brigades have been received from agencies such as FEMA, the U.S. Corps of Engineers, the Federal Department of Health, and the Defense Department. State level staff from Florida, Georgia and New York, among others, has also arrived.

Additional supporting staff could move to the island in the next days to support local police in enforcing the curfew order, as well as to help in rescue and transit work.

Similarly, Gov. Rosselló said the commonwealth has been offered help by countries such as Spain, Dominican Republic and Panama.

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