Sen. Rubio tours San Juan Port after Hurricane María
SAN JUAN – During his visit to Puerto Rico the Monday after Hurricane María, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) visited the capital to tour the Coast Guard’s facilities in the metropolitan area.
During the tour, Coast Guard officials explained to the senator that the priority is reestablishing service at the island’s ports.
Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González accompanied Rubio and explained that the ports in Ponce, Mayagüez, Ceiba, Arecibo and Yabucoa have yet to reopen. The latter is receives mostly fuel, while other ports, such as Ponce’s focus on shipments.
González also explained that in order to speed up the rehabilitation of the island’s ports, the Coast Guard has dispatched 10 teams to the different ports of Puerto Rico, including those of the island-municipalities of Vieques and Culebra.
The tour, of which Guaynabo Mayor Ángel Pérez also participated, took the congressman to the Coast Guard’s residential complex in Bayamón and then to the administrative complex in Old San Juan’s La Puntilla neighborhood. Currently, the Coast Guard moved its central operation to Bayamón, as its headquarters lost part of its roof.
Leading the way was the Coast Guard commandant, Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, who explained that they hope to return to their headquarters by Tuesday.
On the other hand, Zukunft explained that to help with the island’s recovery efforts, the Coast Guard moved barges that were used for drug monitoring in Caribbean waters to transport supplies and technical equipment.
In addition to moving supplies, the Coast Guard mobilized people with medical emergencies, as was the case with 45 dialysis patients who had to be transported from the metropolitan area to the municipality of Fajardo to receive treatment.
Sen. Rubio acknowledged accepted that the storm has aggravated the island’s fiscal crisis. He also said he hopes that congressional support for Puerto Rico will be bipartisan.
Meanwhile, the resident commissioner said she was returning to the U.S. capital Monday night to continue her efforts to help Puerto Rico, and expressed appreciation for Rubio’s visit.
“It’s not the same over the phone as when you see it personally and learn the magnitude of the devastation. Senator Rubio’s efforts for us are essential. We have no senator, he is the one who basically [represents] 3.4 million American citizens of Puerto Rico in the Congress,” González said.
In addition to the efforts being carried out in Congress, the resident commissioner said that federal agencies are also urgently needed.