Saturday, September 23

Situation in Puerto Rico far worse than shown on TV reports: NY Gov. Cuomo

Governor Cuomo surveying Maria's destruction in Puerto Rico

The Governor's visit was yesterday; this morning New York City also sent an official delegation to Puerto Rico; see the following report for details. While the Governor's delegation brought supplies, troops, and even helicopters, this is virtually nothing next to what is needed. And I am surprised that the NYC delegation arrived only with an offer of help and not with any supplies in tow. Or if they did bring supplies, this wasn't noted in the Gothamist report. 

I note that in addition to the emergency supplies brought by the Governor's delegation: 
... Governor Cuomo has announced that 60 members of the New York Army National Guard, four Black Hawk helicopters and 50 State Police are on standby.
September 23, 2017 - 2:30 PM EDT

[See Gothamist site for more photos of the Governor's visit]

After surveying the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico on Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that "in person it is much worse than it appears on the TV reports."

"The devastation of the island is really breathtaking," continued Cuomo, who held a press conference shortly after a delegation of officials who visited the island with him landed in JFK. "There are parts of the island that have as much as seven to eight feet of water in homes."

Cuomo went to Puerto Rico in response to an official request for assistance and aid from Governor Ricardo Rossello. The delegation brought 34,000 bottles of water, 9,600 ready-to-eat meals, 3,000 canned goods, 500 flashlights, 1,400 cots, 1,400 blankets, 1,400 pillows and 10 10kW generators. The supplies and the delegation arrived via an aircraft donated by JetBlue.

"The one thing that's clear is these people need a lot of help. And we have to remember that they're American citizens. It's Puerto Rico, they're American citizens. U.S. Virgin Islands, they're American citizens," he said.

Cuomo was joined by 60 members of the National Guard, emergency management officials, Representative Nydia Velazquez and Assembly Member Marcos Crespo.

Crespo, like so many others who haven't been able to reach their loved ones, wasn't able to visit the town where his mother lives during the visit because it was so "battered and flooded," according to the New York Post.

"While I didn't get to see mommy, I have hope," Crespo told the Post. "I don't know much about my town today, as I did before this trip. But I know the donations Puerto Ricans have received are going to help where it matters the most."

And this morning, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and 22 city workers flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Among the city workers are 10 emergency managers, nine members of the NYPD Hispanic Society, two staffers from Department of Buildings, and a staffer from the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit.

"We're ready to do all we can to help those affected by this devastating hurricane," Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. "We thank the Hispanic Federation for making this flight possible and these responders for dedicating their time and expertise to assisting with recovery."

For a list of organizations collecting money and goods for the hurricane recovery effort, click here.



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