Letter to Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States - Durbin, Duckworth Join Lawmakers In Bicameral Push For President Biden To Issue A Major Disaster Declaration For Puerto Rico


Dear President Biden,

Governor Pierluisi has formally requested a Major Disaster Declaration for all of Puerto Rico's municipalities in response to Hurricane Fiona. We strongly urge you to approve this request to ensure Puerto Rico has all the federal resources available to respond to this disaster.

Hurricane Fiona devastated the island with catastrophic flash flooding, unprecedented rainfall, and high-speed winds. The hurricane caused an island-wide blackout, leaving over three million residents without power for over twenty-four hours. Furthermore, 750,000 homes remain without potable water. Bridges have collapsed, roads are blocked with debris, and schools are damaged. FEMA Public Assistance is urgently needed to begin restoring this vital infrastructure.

In addition, Hurricane Fiona has caused significant flood damage to homes across the island. Many families are now seeking temporary shelter and will require significant aid in order to rebuild their homes. FEMA's Individual Assistance is critical to assist with these housing costs and other recovery expenses. We thank you for swiftly approving Puerto Rico's Emergency Declaration this past Sunday.

In 2017, thousands of lives were lost in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria due to the butchered government response by the Trump Administration. In 2020, the island faced destructive earthquakes, requiring more disaster recovery resources. Five years since Hurricane Maria, LUMA Energy and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) have yet to adequately repair the electrical system, resulting in continued frequent and widespread electrical outages. These events have left Puerto Rico's critical infrastructure vulnerable to extreme weather. We urge you to help the people of Puerto Rico equitably recover from these multiple disasters and access the federal funding they urgently need.

Given the damaged infrastructure, we urge you to promptly approve Governor Pierluisi's request for a Major Disaster Declaration for all of Puerto Rico's municipalities in response to Hurricane Fiona.