WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Historic funding and a loss of power has hit Puerto Rico because of Hurricane Fiona, with four deaths so far.
“The situation is a disaster,” Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.
Tuesday, Schumer joined other voices in demanding action to make Puerto Rico more resilient to hurricanes.
“That has left our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico without power, running water and some without a roof over their heads,” Schumer said.
Schumer says that 5 years ago Congress allocated $21 billion to help the U.S territory recover from Hurricane Maria.
“According to GAO of that 21 billion dollars only two percent of the money has been spent,” Schumer said.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y) says it’s time for the federal government to step up.
“To help the people of Puerto Rico, survive, recover, rebuild, and rebuild stronger and rebuild better and rebuild in a more resilient way,” Gillibrand said.
Lawmakers say the improvements in Puerto Rico are all the more important after the island was hit this week by another devastating storm.
“We have predeployed hundreds of staff,” FEMA Associate Administrator Anne Bink said. Bink says FEMA is already there to help.
In some parts of Puerto Rico, solar power was installed in the wake of Hurricane Maria, and that’s keeping the lights on in critical areas.
Rep. Lydia Velazquez says that shows the direction Puerto Rico needs to take.
“Put all the pressure to make sure that Puerto Rico moves from fossil fuels to a more resilient energy source,” Velazquez said.