US Puerto Rico Needs a 'Just' Recovery, Say Groups

03:40  11 november  2017
03:40  11 november  2017 Source:   NBC News

Puerto Rico governor to tour Superstorm Sandy sites in NY

  Puerto Rico governor to tour Superstorm Sandy sites in NY The governor of Puerto Rico traveled to New York Thursday to see how the state rebuilt following Superstorm Sandy and meet with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to discuss his island's recovery from Hurricane Maria.Gov. Ricardo Rossello joined Cuomo for an aerial tour of sites on Long Island impacted by the 2012 storm that were rebuilt to be more resilient to flooding. The two men then discussed additional ways New York can help the U.S. territory, and Cuomo announced the deployment of additional utility workers to assist in restoring electricity.Rossello said he hopes Puerto Rico emerges from Maria as well as New York did after Sandy.

Longtime environmental justice activist Elizabeth Yeampierre is helping spearhead a national day of action on creating a “ just recovery ” for Puerto Rico . Developers and green builders will say this is an opportunity to provide Puerto Rico with what it needed all along .

MIAMI -- Organizations including Climate Justice Alliance, Greenpeace and others are shining a spotlight on the need for Puerto Rico to have what they call a “ just Many groups say the policy has slowed the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico , adding costs and efforts to get goods to the island.

Local Puerto Rican leaders join the #OurPowerPuertoRico campaign in Miami aboard the Arctic Sunrise Greenpeace ship. They are advocating for a © Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC Local Puerto Rican leaders join the #OurPowerPuertoRico campaign in Miami aboard the Arctic Sunrise Greenpeace ship. They are advocating for a "just recovery" in Puerto Rico.

MIAMI -- Organizations including Climate Justice Alliance, Greenpeace and others are shining a spotlight on the need for Puerto Rico to have what they call a "just recovery," during a press conference in Miami Friday afternoon. It's part of a national campaign called #Our Power Puerto Rico: Art for Climate Justice.

"Puerto Rico is experiencing the worst crisis that we can see as a result of climate change," Angela Adrar, Executive Director of Climate Justice Alliance told NBC Latino.

Exclusive: Trump agrees to pick up 90 percent of Puerto Rico rebuilding costs - aide

  Exclusive: Trump agrees to pick up 90 percent of Puerto Rico rebuilding costs - aide <p>President Donald Trump on Thursday agreed to expand the use of disaster aid to rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid and other infrastructure wrecked by Hurricane Maria, a senior White House official told Reuters.</p>Under the plan, the federal government will pick up 90 percent of the costs - up from the typical level of 75 percent - and allow for funds to be released in a faster, more flexible way, an approach that recognizes the massive devastation on the island and its dire financial problems, the official said.

Home»National & World News»Catholic organizations, groups actively working on Puerto Rico ’s recovery . Just as the church cannot avoid been missionary, the bishop said , neither can Catholics avoid it.

Looking far ahead to rebuilding, Fuentes says that Puerto Rico will need to completely overhaul its infrastructure, from roads and bridges to the power grid. “You can’t just fix what is there now,” he says . “It needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.”

The group believes the crisis surrounding Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit on September 20, is based on "a failing system that has been failing Puerto Rico for decades. And you can see it now clearly in the way their energy, their food system, their basic needs aren't being met any longer," Adrar said.

RELATED: Puerto Rico Suffers Another Major Power outage After Transmission Line Failure

The group's goal is to rebuild the island, using regenerative energy, while building local economies, as well as their own food sources. The hurricane was costly for the agriculture industry, wiping out 80 percent of the crops on the island. Prior to the storm, Puerto Rico was importing 85 percent of its food. The prices of imports could rise while local products like coffee and plantains are losses after the hurricane.

Hurricane victims begin new life 1,000 miles from home

  Hurricane victims begin new life 1,000 miles from home In Puerto Rico, less than 20 percent of schools have reopened, and many kids are still studying in the dark . Rebuilding the island is still a distant dream.  © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Karen Espino's classroom at Lake Nona Middle School. In the Orlando area, there are more than 1,300 new students from Puerto Rico.Joaris Laureano, 13, arrived two weeks ago, living with her uncle and trying to find her footing.She said it's been difficult being in a new place, and "difficult being away from her parents and older brother." She said all her family wants to come.

Officials say the type of recovery aid Puerto Rico receives could impact how the repayment process will progress. Adriano Espaillat of New York says the conditions on many parts of the island are so dire that billion in relief is needed just to begin with.

“It’s just harder when it’s an island.” Recovery efforts have had a real impact as the supply chain of relief has slowly pushed out into the mountainous interior of the island, Reyes said . But in order to deal with Puerto Rico ’s woes, it will need a long-term plan to address the crumbling infrastructure, as

"Puerto Rico doesn't need more plastic. Puerto Rico doesn't need more garbage. They've been our dumping ground for decades. What they need is zero waste, renewable energy, and community control of their resources," Adrar said.

RELATED: Over 139,000 Puerto Ricans Have Arrived in Florida Since Hurricane Maria

About 43 percent of Puerto Rico had power recently, but many were left in the dark again Thursday when a main power line that serves the northern half of the island failed. This also meant many people who had running water restored no longer did since pumping stations are powered by electricity.

The group is also advocating for the repeal of the Jones Act, which has been around since 1920. The law requires goods shipped from the U.S. mainland to be carried on vessels owned, operated, and built by Americans. Many groups say the policy has slowed the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, adding costs and efforts to get goods to the island.

The Arctic Sunrise Greenpeace ship, a charter boat where the press conference was held, is loaded with sustainable items like solar generators, water filters, and bikes to send to Puerto Rico. But the vessel won't be able to depart Miami on Monday as planned because the Jones Act does not allow it under its stipulations. Members of the campaign are now renting a charter boat to ship the aid to Puerto Rico.

"There is a very small window to act and convince decision makers to do the right thing," Adrar said.

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Trump Disaster Assistance Request Draws Bipartisan Criticism .
A White House request for $44 billion in disaster aid came under intense criticism from Republicans and Democrats, making it likely Congress will provide a higher level of aid for Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida. The White House request Friday united both parties in opposition. Lawmakers said the request lacked enough money to cover damage from hurricanes.John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, called the request "wholly inadequate" and said he would work to improve its provision for hurricanes and wildfires.

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