LULAC Stands Ready to Assist Puerto Rico in the Devastating Aftermath of Hurricane Fiona
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San Juan, PR – The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) will assist in the recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico, which dropped 30 inches of rain on the island. More than 1,000 residents have been rescued across Puerto Rico so far, with at least one death reported, and more than a million people were without power as of yesterday, and many without running water.
LULAC is in the process of helping on-the-ground recovery efforts where needed and fiercely advocating the federal government for relief assistance, as it did after the devastating Hurricane Maria in 2017. Since that unprecedented storm five years ago this week, LULAC has maintained, “Promises made must be promises kept for the American citizens of Puerto Rico” in regard to the federal government.
The following LULAC leaders issued statements regarding Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico:
“We support the Biden Administration's decision approving immediate assistance to the people of Puerto Rico. Once again, the least able to fend for themselves are the ones most affected. The loss of the island's power grid is especially concerning because of medical equipment and care that requires electricity. We urge all federal agencies engaged in emergency response to move with deliberate urgency to help Puerto Rico,” said Domingo Garcia, LULAC National President.
“We know our thousands of members on the ground on the island are mobilized and working to help impacted individuals. LULAC commends their service,” said Sindy Benavides, LULAC CEO. “We also want to thank President Biden for approving an emergency declaration in Puerto Rico and authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to mobilize and coordinate aid. As the immediate and long-term widespread damage to homes and infrastructure is assessed, LULAC will work with federal authorities to ensure that people get the help they need.”
“LULAC Puerto Rico is standing shoulder to shoulder with the people of Puerto Rico right now, who have been once again ravaged by a cruel hurricane. Our LULAC members are working around the clock helping victims on the ground,” said Elsie Valdés Ramos, LULAC National Vice-President for Women. “We are in solidarity with the quick actions of President Biden in declaring an emergency on the island and thank the administration for the surge of federal support, where hundreds of personnel are already working to assist with response and recovery, in coordination with the Governor. However, it is the hope of LULAC Puerto Rico that long-term recovery efforts are not a repeat of Hurricane Maria in regard to how slow they were.”
“Currently large parts of the island continue to remain inaccessible to rescuers and hundreds have been forced from their homes, many of which will be deemed inhabitable,” said Ivonne Quiñones Lanzó, National Vice President for the Southeast, who resides in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. “It has taken far too long to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 because federal funds for long-term recovery were held hostage to political in-fighting in Congress, as well as the Trump Administration’s restrictions on portions of the aid. LULAC will not stand for a repeat of 2017 as Puerto Ricans are dealing with yet another devastating hurricane.”
“Climate change means that Puerto Rico is only going to see more intense storms,” said Carlos Fajardo, LULAC State Director for Puerto Rico. “The bottom line is that the island needs to be better prepared to weather these storms and spend beyond the $5.3 billion, or 19 percent, of the $28 billion in funding that FEMA committed post-2017 recovery projects. Regardless of the post-pandemic obstacles, it is incumbent on both the federal government and local governments to build better infrastructure so that we can limit damage and ultimately save lives. If the United States put a man on the moon in 1969, surely the government can avoid massive power outages in Puerto Rico in 2022.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington D.C., with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services, and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting the critical needs of today and the future. For more information visit www.LULAC.org