Since mid-December 2019, hundreds of earthquakes have rocked the US territory of Puerto Rico, devastating infrastructure and leaving millions without power or safe shelter. The earthquakes are a cruel blow to an island still struggling to recover from two catastrophic and deadly hurricanes in 2017.
Puerto Rico’s slow recovery from the 2017 hurricanes is hardly a surprise given the US government’s ongoing failure to adequately fund disaster relief. While Congress allocated billions in disaster relief funding to Puerto Rico over a year ago, less than half of that money has actually been disbursed, and even less money has been actually spent. Now, the Trump administration has imposed further restrictions on distribution of aid to Puerto Rico. These restrictions, which include a ban on funding fixes to the island’s power grid and suspension of the $15 hourly wage for federal disaster relief work, further ensure Puerto Ricans will not receive the money they need to rebuild.
The Trump administration, consistent with its history of white supremacist policies, is callously ignoring thousands of United States citizens in Puerto Rico. Congress must advocate for immediate disbursement of disaster relief aid to Puerto Rico and oppose the Trump administration’s stringent limitations on aid distribution.