On Monday, February 2, the White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, spoke about the new administration’s plan to help with the hurricane disaster Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover from. However, there is no set time frame for when the aid is coming to their rescue.
A federal official confirmed to El Nuevo Herald in Miami, Florida, that the Biden Administration had approved $1.3 billion in Hurricane Maria disaster relief aid.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development spokesman Micahel Burns noted that the same day, his department attempted to reopen the relief funds of $4.9 billion approved by Trump’s administration hours before leaving office.
Though Congress had allocated $20 billion for aid in Puerto Rico, in data reported from January 2020, HUD had only released $138.5 million — which was less than 1% according to the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resiliency, the department that handles the reconstruction project of the Caribbean island.
To no surprise, the Trump administration had delayed and restricted those funds because they were worried the government was not using the funds correctly and rather appropriating them for personal affairs.
Hurricane Maria devastated the small island off the United States coast in 2017, leaving some $90 billion in damages. To this day, they’ve been torn apart by numerous earthquakes, and more recently, the coronavirus pandemic.
In the press conference, Psaki said that relief funds for Puerto Rico were a priority for their administration. However, when asked when the aid would arrive, she said, “We are working to do so.”
Since 2017, $66 billion has been approved in aid by Congress. Unfortunately, only $17.3 billion, less than 30% of the total amount allocated, has reached the island. Though a new administration promised relief for Puerto Rico, it is telling that there is no deadline they have put in place to meet.