US FEMA actually can stay in Puerto Rico indefinitely

22:53  12 october  2017
22:53  12 october  2017 Source:   CNN

Puerto Rico town sees first FEMA aid delivery

  Puerto Rico town sees first FEMA aid delivery Puerto Rico's National Guard delivered aid provided by FEMA on Monday to Guayanilla, Puerto Rico. It was the first time FEMA aid had come directly to the municipality without a local official driving to San Juan to pick it up. Lines for cash, lines for food, lines for water and lines for gas.

A first shipment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA ), with generators, water and other resources, arrived in San Juan, she added. On Saturday, Puerto Rico Gov.

FEMA offers update on latest in Puerto Rico response efforts.

  FEMA actually can stay in Puerto Rico indefinitely © RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump tweeted that first responders can't stay in Puerto Rico "forever," but if history is any indicator, they can definitely stay there for a long time.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency can (and does) stay involved in disaster relief for years after major catastrophes. In fact, FEMA is still spending money on relief efforts in the wake of a few major storms that are a decade (or even more) old.

More than a dozen years after Hurricane Katrina pounded the Gulf Coast, FEMA is slated to dole out nearly half a billion dollars in fiscal year 2017 to fund relief efforts, mostly in Louisiana, after the hurricane and subsequent storms Rita and Wilma.

Trump says Puerto Rico's debt will have to be wiped out

  Trump says Puerto Rico's debt will have to be wiped out <p>President Donald Trump said on Tuesday while on a trip to Puerto Rico to observe hurricane recovery efforts that the island's massive debt will have to be wiped out.</p>"They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street and we're going to have to wipe that out. You're going to say goodbye to that, I don't know if it's Goldman Sachs but whoever it is you can wave goodbye to that," Trump said in an interview with Fox News.

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The agency is also still spending millions of dollars this year on recovery plans in the wake of Hurricanes Gustav in Louisiana and Ike in Texas from 2008. In fact, FEMA has already spent $2 million in Puerto Rico relief this year -- connected to Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Significant relief efforts remain underway in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, totaling over $1.4 billion this year in disaster recovery money, plus another $1.2 billion this year after Hurricane Matthew last year.

FEMA continues relief efforts for even smaller, lower-profile recovery efforts, dropping millions of dollars this year on floods in Iowa from 2008, Tennessee from 2010, North Dakota from 2011 and Colorado from 2013.

Trump also called the infrastructure on the island a "disaster" before the hurricane hit, blaming Puerto Rico for a financial crisis "largely of their own making." A broad 83% of electricity customers on the island still didn't have power and only 22% of cell service antennas were working as of Thursday morning's update.

U.S. House Speaker Ryan in Puerto Rico as Maria costs mount

  U.S. House Speaker Ryan in Puerto Rico as Maria costs mount House Speaker Paul Ryan is getting a firsthand look at the devastation left by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.Ryan and other members of a congressional delegation met at the airport briefly with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday.

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White House chief of staff John Kelly said at the daily briefing that the US would "stand with Puerto Rico until the job is done." Testifying before House panel, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson told lawmakers "I have no intention of abandoning Puerto Rico. They're a very important part of who we are."

"Successful recoveries do not last forever; they should be as swift as possible to help people resume their normal lives," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Thursday morning.

The House is slated to vote on a $36.5 billion disaster aid bill on Thursday, nearly $5 billion of which would specifically go to Puerto Rico.

Democrats have been critical of Trump's comments, saying the President seems more interested in blaming Puerto Rico for its financial situation than continuing recovery efforts.

FEMA administrator calls San Juan mayor's criticism of hurricane relief 'political noise' .
The Trump administration is brushing off new criticism from the mayor of San Juan over the federal government's recovery effort in hurricane-battered Puerto Rico. Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, dismissed the latest pleas for urgent assistance from the mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, as "political noise." "We filtered out the mayor a long time ago," Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, dismissed the latest pleas for urgent assistance from the mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, as "political noise.

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