We should view the crises in Greece and Puerto Rico as canaries in the coal mine. Countries around the world are over promising and financing obligations with borrowing. You can’t live on credit forever. People are beginning to question why their leaders didn’t prevent these problems.–Rep. Tom Reed, July 7, 2015
On Puerto Rico, Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) writes:
Last week I traveled to Puerto Rico with other members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation to assess firsthand the efforts underway to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. I was hoping to get a clear sense of just how much more work remains to fully restore services to Puerto Rico’s residents.
We met Friday with volunteers from the Massachusetts State Police, who have been assisting recovery efforts in a number of ways. Officers are responding to 911 calls, helping with traffic management and filling in as needed so local officers can focus on helping their own families recover from the hurricane.
We toured Hospital del Nino, a pediatric hospital where 34 patients are currently receiving treatment in its extended care facility. The hospital also offers rehabilitation services for children and is Puerto Rico’s only long-term care facility providing services to low income families.
Our time in Puerto Rico included a briefing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the Joint Field Office (JFO) which is where FEMA and all other agencies coordinate relief efforts. We talked at length with FEMA officials about the ongoing energy and public health needs on the island as well as issues involving security.
As part of the FEMA briefing, we used helicopters for an aerial assessment of Puerto Rico, particularly the areas still in need of attention. We witnessed some significant storm damage along the coast as well as inland, including damaged power lines and communities still devastated by storm debris.
At the Concilio de Salud Integral de Loíza, a community health center near San Juan, we learned more about what officials need to more fully serve the medical needs of island residents. This includes longer term care as well as health needs resulting directly from the hurricane.
We concluded our trip with a stop at what was the largest shelter on the island. In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, over 350 people were housed at this shelter. There are still about 80 people living in the shelter.
While progress has been made toward Puerto Rico’s recovery, there is so much more that our fellow citizens still need. I am working with my colleagues to increase the level of federal assistance provided to Puerto Rico.
To my knowledge, Rep. Tom Reed has never mentioned the disaster in Puerto Rico–que diferencia!