Cuomo leads delegation to Puerto Rico, pledges National Guard assistance

Elise Czajkowski
January 14, 2020 - 1:12 pm
Andrew Cuomo leads delegation to Puerto Rico

Roger Stern/1010 WINS

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is leading a delegation to Puerto Rico and has pledged to deploy 115 members of the National Guard to help with earthquake recovery efforts.

Cuomo's office says that the governor plans to be in Puerto Rico on Tuesday and Wednesday. Other members of the 12-person delegation include Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., Bronx Assembly Member Marcos Crespo and Brooklyn Assembly Member Maritza Davila.

Puerto Rico has been rocked by earthquakes over the last week, with tremors up to a 6.4 magnitude. In the aftermath, nearly one million people were without power, and thousands were living in shelters.

The governor's delegation will survey areas impacted by the quakes and assess damage to determine what support the state can provide. They will also meet with residents who are currently sheltered in a local high school.

The National Guard will assist in emergency response efforts over the next 90 days. Along with personnel, New York State will send tents, blankets, pillows and emergency preparedness kits.

"Puerto Rico is still hurting from the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria and the federal government's protracted recovery over two years ago, and now the island is once again being dealt a devastating blow with a series of earthquakes and tremors that has caused widespread damage and power outages, leaving thousands of families in shelters," Cuomo said in a statement.

"From day one New York has been a tremendous supporter of the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, and we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the island during these challenging times. New York State will deploy National Guard to assist in emergency response efforts, and I will be traveling with a delegation to assess the damage and determine what more we can do to help."

In addition, New York City Major Bill de Blasio said that the city would send 24 more city personnel to help the City of San Juan and its surrounding areas. The response team including building inspectors, engineers, emergency managers, and mental health professionals.

In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, de Blasio praised New York City workers who have worked in Puerto Rico in past emergencies and reiterated the city's commitment to helping Puerto Ricans. He also called out the Trump administration's lack of response to the recent earthquakes, encouraging the federal government to release the $18 billion in disaster funding that has been approved by Congress for Puerto Rico but has not been released.

"If this were just a matter of Puerto Rico being in trouble and the question was, would New York City be there, it'd be a no brainer," the mayor said. "We were there last time, we're there this time, we're going to be with Puerto Rico every step of the way. If that's all it took, this would be a much easier conversation. But the problem is, what Puerto Rico needs the most is for the federal government to show up. Puerto Rico is a part of the United States of America but it's rarely treated that way. Puerto Rico needs the US government to step up and really help in this moment of crisis."

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