After the Democratic US Representative led a call for full coverage of post-hurricane relief costs. Val Demings is leading a trip to Puerto Rico, where she and other members of Congress will oversee efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Demings office announced the trip on Friday, a day after the Puerto Rico governor Pedro Pierluisi invited Demings to see “firsthand the devastating effects” of Hurricane Fiona raced through the island on Monday.
In the days since, Demings has called the President Joe Biden to demand a grand declaration of disaster, what he did on Thursdayand for FEMA to initiate one 100% cost sharing of emergency aid – a step others in Congress have also requested.
“The health and safety of the American people is my top priority,” Demings said in a statement. “It is critical that we hear directly from the Puerto Rican communities and first responders on the ground so we can assess Puerto Rico’s needs and FEMA’s response. We know this storm is another blow to the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Maria – a recovery that has taken far too long.
“We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. The people of Puerto Rico deserve the best we can deliver, and I expect an extremely high level of professionalism, attention, urgency, and effective action from FEMA and other local partners. We need to complete families and communities. Five years after Hurricane Maria, I am committed to ensuring Puerto Rico has what it takes to recover.”
Eight people are confirmed to be deceased as a result of Hurricane Fiona, which brough 85 mph windheavy rains, and flooding on the island as a Category 1 hurricane. One estimate 928,000 households remain without electricity.
The storm is now moving towards Bermuda and has strengthened to a Category 4, which was Hurricane Maria when it struck Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, killing nearly 3,000 people, displacing more than 200,000 others and leaving residents behind almost a year without electricity.
Demings oversees the work of FEMA as Chair of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery in partnership with the US Democratic Representative. Benny Thompson of Mississippi, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee of the House of Representatives.
They accompany members of the Homeland Security Committee on the trip Nanette Baragan from California, Sheila Jackson Lee of texas and Richie Torres from New York.