US President Donald Trump has authorised an increase in the disaster assistance to Puerto Rico, taking up 90% of the cost of rebuilding public infrastructure, including restoring the power grid destroyed by hurricane Maria in September. The expenditure, which will be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is higher than the usual 75% that Washington normally assumes in such cases, reports Efe news. Apart from the reconstruction of public infrastructure, Trump also “authorised a 100% federal cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures”, the White House said on Thursday.
“The President has authorised assistance conditioned upon having extra controls on project cost estimation and project management in place to facilitate the expeditious rebuilding of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure,” the statement added. The “controls” refer to ensuring proper utilisation of federal tax dollars and cost-effective activities. Trump had been criticised for not taking the disaster situation in Puerto Rico seriously.
The President had also lashed out at the Puerto Rican local authorities for wanting the US to do everything. Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, leaving at least 54 people dead, destroying the island’s power grid and causing a massive humanitarian crisis that further worsened the economic crisis. So far, only 30% of the people have got their power supply back.
According to reports, following the disaster, only 30% of Puerto Rico’s power grid has been restored. Meanwhile, a lot of reconstruction work is still pending, many survey authorities are filling their reports to bring back situation to normal at the disaster-hit Puerto Rico.