President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the federal government will fully cover relief costs related to Hurricane Fiona for Puerto Rico for the next month.

“I’ve authorized 100% — 100% — federal funding for debris removal, search and rescue, water restoration and shelter and food for the whole month. To the people of Puerto Rico who are still hurting from Hurricane Maria five years later, they should know that we are with you. We’re not going to walk away. I mean it,” Biden said.

Fiona caused a major amount of damage throughout the island, leaving over 1.4 million people without power afterward. It brought up to 30 inches of rain in some areas, as well as cut electricity and access to running water for most of Puerto Rico.

Biden approved a major disaster declaration for Puerto Rico on Wednesday, following an emergency declaration he approved Sunday before the hurricane made landfall. This allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to give direct payments to anyone affected for temporary housing and home repairs, as well as to offer low-cost loans.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell traveled to Puerto Rico Tuesday to assess damage and sat beside Biden at the Thursday briefing at FEMA’s Region 2 headquarters at One World Trade Center in New York.

“We’re laser-focused on what’s happened to people in Puerto Rico again. We’re talking almost to the day, at least to the week, five years after Hurricane Maria was devastating [the island]. We’re surging federal resources to Puerto Rico; and we’ll do everything — everything we can — to reach the urgent needs they have,” Biden added.


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