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Bill Clinton visits Puerto Rico, commits to supporting mayors

By on November 20, 2017

SAN JUAN – Former President Bill Clinton was visiting Puerto Rico Monday, and in a meeting with mayors of towns that sustained greater damage from Hurricane María’s force, he assured that his foundation was willing to help them now and in the upcoming years.

Two months after the devastation caused by the major hurricane, many towns still do not have electricity or running water. The island’s power generation has only reached 46% of its capacity.

The former president’s visit comes after the Clinton Foundation joined the Solar Foundation and other humanitarian entities, such as Operation Blessing International–created by evangelist Pat Robertson–and a range of companies to help restore power to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands via solar storage equipment to feed critical infrastructure in regions affected by a disaster.

The effort has already begun with $5 million worth of solar equipment donations.

Clinton said María hit Puerto Rico “at the worst moment” because it coincided with natural disasters in Houston, Florida and the USVI. (Courtesy)

At the meeting with the mayors, Clinton said he is aware of the arduous task the mayors have ahead of them.

“I love Puerto Rico and I think that being mayor for the next few years and, not only surpassing what has happened but building a future, is a terrible problem and a great opportunity,” the former president said.

Clinton believes the hurricane hit Puerto Rico “at the worst moment” because it coincided with natural disasters in Houston, Texas; Florida, and USVI. Otherwise, the former president said, the island would have received more federal aid.

However, he stressed that there are many people willing to help and that mayors should not be afraid to request support.

“I’m ready for our foundation to help you,” he said. “Don’t be negative. There are people willing to help.”

Earlier Monday, the former president visited the William Rivera Betancourt Vocational School, a makeshift shelter in Canóvanas, with Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who said Clinton’s opinion is of utmost importance to help in the reconstruction phase.

“It’s important to have him here because he has a vision of how to emerge from the emergency phase, establish normalcy and begin to rebuild,” the governor said.

The Clinton administration helped in Puerto Rico’s recovery after Hurricane Georges in 1998. The Clinton Foundation has shipped 76 tons of medicine and medical equipment since the storm hit Sept. 20. It also helped in reconstruction after Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake in 2010.

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