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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: October 5, 2017 11:27 AM
From: Representative Emilio A. Vazquez and Rep. Angel Cruz, Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution Urging Emergency Support and Resources for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to Aid in Their Recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
In the near future, I will be introducing a resolution that would urge the United States Congress and President Donald Trump to establish a joint task force for the specific purpose of providing emergency support and resources to help Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and their residents recover from the damage and destruction caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm with wind speeds of 185 mph, struck the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 6, 2017, and left widespread destruction in its wake. In recent years, the U.S. Virgin Islands have suffered from a cycle of financial mismanagement, leaving the islands and their residents in an inadequate and unprepared state to deal with the damaging effects of Hurricane Irma and, two weeks later, Hurricane Maria.

In addition to the damage created by Hurricane Irma, a second storm, Hurricane Maria, further impacted recovery efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands through widespread flooding and brought a new wave of destruction upon making landfall in Puerto Rico during the early hours of the morning of September 20, 2017. Puerto Rico sustained damaging rain and winds in excess of 155 mph, causing widespread and extensive damage. Similarly to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico has in recent years been burdened by a burgeoning debt crisis, which has indefinitely delayed necessary upgrades and improvements to infrastructure and utility services.

Sadly, residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are now living without electricity and have extremely limited cellphone service, emergency and medical services, and access to clean water and food supplies. These residents are now faced with great obstacles in their attempt to rebuild their communities and lives and would benefit significantly through the enhanced support and leadership of a joint task force headed by the United States Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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

Introduced as HR563