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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: September 27, 2017 11:01 AM
From: Representative Emilio A. Vazquez and Rep. Angel Cruz
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution Urging the United States Congress and President Trump to Allocate Resources to Help Puerto Rico and Its Residents Recover from Hurricane Maria
In the near future, I will be introducing a resolution that would urge the United States Congress and President Donald Trump to make emergency financial resources available to help Puerto Rico and its residents recover from Hurricane Maria.

Nearly two weeks after sustaining damage caused by Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria made landfall during the early hours of the morning of September 20, 2017. According to a statement issued by the island’s emergency management officials, Puerto Rico has been “destroyed” due to damaging rain and winds in excess of 155 mph.

According to the New York Times, Puerto Rico has in recent years been burdened by a debt crisis exceeding $9 billion, which resulted in the bankruptcy of the island’s utility service in July. Unfortunately, necessary upgrades and improvements to utility services have not been able to be completed in recent years, further jeopardizing the island’s electricity grid and infrastructure.

With an inadequate infrastructure already in place, the result of damage sustained from Hurricane Maria has left the residents of Puerto Rico without electricity and with extremely limited cellphone service, emergency and medical services, and access to clean water and food supplies. In some cases, the loss of communications has made it virtually impossible for injured residents to call for or receive lifesaving services.

Limited communications has also impacted many of Pennsylvania’s Puerto Rican population, since they are unable to reach family members located on the island. According to the Los Angeles Times, Pennsylvania ranks fourth nationwide in the number of Puerto Ricans living in the United States, with the Commonwealth’s population totaling nearly 366,000. One-third of Pennsylvania’s total Puerto Rican population resides in Philadelphia.

Sadly, residents of Puerto Rico face numerous obstacles in their attempt to return to their normal, everyday lives and have little hope of receiving emergency services in the near future without the aid of the United States.

I hope you will join me in supporting this important measure.

Introduced as HR538