Puerto Rico is slated to run out of money Oct. 31, at which point the government will shut down, including all of the island’s relief efforts, the nation’s Treasury Secretary Raul Maldonado said Wednesday.
“I don’t have any collections, and we are spending a lot of money providing direct assistance for the emergency,” Maldonado told reporters. “Without the assistance from Congress, Puerto Rico’s government will not be able to operate next month.”
The nation had only $1.6 billion on hand when Hurricane Maria hit in late September, leaving more than 90 percent of the island’s citizens without power and half without running water.
Maldonado has asked the U.S. Congress to provide the nation with between $6 billion and $8 billion to keep the government solvent for “a few months.” If Congress does not provide funding, nonessential government employees will go without pay and essential services and hurricane relief will get curtailed.
The Trump administration asked Congress Wednesday to provide Puerto Rico with $29 billion in aid, which would go towards covering disaster relief efforts and making payments on national flood insurance. While that would be a significant boon to a seriously hurting nation, the Puerto Rican government estimates that Maria alone caused roughly $95 billion in damages, an amount that takes up most of the nation’s annual gross domestic product.
Moldonado predicts “a disaster” if Congress does not act and provide funds quickly.
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