The Trump administration is sending an additional $13 billion in aid to Puerto Rico to assist the still ongoing recovery efforts Friday after the U.S. territory was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the aid is the largest disaster relief grant from FEMA in history, aside from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Trump was criticized by Puerto Rico leaders for his response to the hurricane at the time, but the current governor Wanda Vázquez Garced tweeted thanks to the president Friday. (RELATED: Is Puerto Rico’s Death Toll From Hurricane Maria Even HIGHER Than We Thought?)
“Federal funding of $9.6 billion will allow the Puerto Rico Electrical Power Authority to repair and replace thousands of miles of transmission and distribution lines, electrical substations, power generation systems, office buildings and make other grid improvements. The $2 billion grant for the Puerto Rico Department of Education will focus on restoring school buildings and educational facilities across the island,” McEnany said.
Hurricane Maria killed more than 1,400 people in Puerto Rico, a number almost 20 times higher than initial reports indicated, according to a follow up report the territory’s government released in August of 2018.
“Although the official death count from the Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety was initially 64, the toll appears to be much higher,” the report noted. “That estimate was later revised to 1,427.”
Trump has criticized the island’s leaders as corrupt in the years since the storm, suggesting they didn’t use congressional aid funds properly.
Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2019