This morning, Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) joined the weekly House Republican leadership Stakeout press conference to share her perspective on the importance of this week’s disaster relief package and provide a sober reminder of the dire situation in Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria devastated the island, and this package is one step on their long road to recovery.
Here are excerpts from Rep. González-Colón’s remarks:
“I want to thank the leadership of the House — the Speaker, the Leader, the Whip, and the Chairwoman — for allowing me at this and other conferences to brief about the situation in Puerto Rico. As you may know, as of today, more than 86 percent of our population is without power. More than 44 percent is without running water. There have been four hospitals that have been closed. At this time, the dialysis centers are operating on generators and that means lives are at risk. We still have more than 11 bridges and roads that were completely destroyed, and we are still receiving more than 11 million meals from FEMA, seven million liters of water, but we still have a dire situation on the island.”
“We’ve been working with the administration, with President Trump, and with the leadership in the House to get this supplemental that is announced today. We are pleased that there’s money included there to initially manage the situation of Puerto Rico, not only the situation that the local government is facing having no liquidity during the next weeks, and this supplemental will allow money in a loan program to get the money that is needed to continue the efforts for recovery…It’s not just for Puerto Rico — it’s for the Virgin Islands, it’s for Florida, and all the areas that are being impacted by the hurricane.”
“I just want to tell you that it’s not easy when you’re used to living in an American way of life and then somebody tells you that you’re going to be without power for six or eight months. It’s not easy when you continue to suffer, see the suffering of people without food without water, and actually live in a humanitarian crisis.”
“We never expected that to happen to us…we’ve been hit by Hurricane Irma, then, less than ten days after, by Hurricane Maria…we’re still counting the fatalities. As of today, 45 deaths have been counted, and the efforts continue with the federal government and the local government, and I hope this supplemental can be passed soon and I want to again thank the leadership of the House, not only for allowing me to work with them in this issue, but also visiting the island during the next days…I’m really grateful, and the people of Puerto Rico are grateful.”