As many of you are aware, Puerto Rico is now under a Hurricane Watch as Tropical Storm Dorian heads our way. The latest National Weather Service advisories have Dorian passing with hurricane storm winds 20 miles to the south of the Island on Thursday.
The Puerto Rico Recovery Fund has been busy over the last two years helping our distribution centers prepare for any natural disasters and we are ready to confront this new threat with enhanced telecom and power capacities.
Unfortunately, this latest storm comes at a time in Puerto Rico where we are still reeling from the changes brought about by the "Summer of 2019," most significant of which was the resignation of our Governor as a direct consequence of the pressure from the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans protesting what they saw as a corrupt and bigoted government.
I believe Puerto Rico is much more prepared now than it was two years ago to face a storm, and Dorian seems to be a minor one—certainly relative to María. But we are also laboring under a reality where around 30,000 homes still use blue tarps they received after Irma and María caused widespread roof damage, and about half of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority's generation units are in question.
So we stay vigilant and ready to act. Our distribution centers are on alert. We recently reviewed the PRRF’s Emergency Response Plan with them to ensure that their communities are as prepared as possible for Dorian’s arrival.
CNE's Washington, DC office has been working tirelessly during the last two years to, among other things, make sure Puerto Rico gets the disaster relief funds it needs. As our Federal Disaster Funding Update for Puerto Rico shows, we've faced an uphill battle against the slow disbursement of federal aid, an issue we discussed in detail in another recent Policy Brief: Puerto Rico's Unfinished Business After María.
Please know that with your continued support, the Puerto Rico Recovery Fund will stand ready to respond to any of the needs and challenges that this or future natural disasters bring upon our Island.
Very truly yours,
Miguel A. Soto-Class
President and Founder
Center for a New Economy