SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello announced on Thursday that he will ask the US government to declare the small islands of Vieques and Culebra “disaster zones” after the passage of Hurricane Irma.
At a press conference, the governor said that the request is being made by the island-municipalities, which are located off Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, so that they may receive all available aid for reconstruction of the damage caused by the powerful storm.
Culebra is practically without electricity and on Thursday several officials were there to evaluate the situation to be able to present a list of its needs to the appropriate authorities.
Rossello said that he was not ruling out declaring other municipalities disaster zones once he speaks with their mayors and better understands their needs.
The governor also revealed that over the coming three days prepared food will be exempt from the sale and usage tax to give families easier and less costly access to food.
Hurricane Irma – the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic – passed northwest of the island on Wednesday, killing three people there and causing significant damage to roads and the electric power grid which has put about 1 million people in the dark.
Meanwhile, some 350,000 Puerto Ricans are without potable water and half the telecommunications towers in the country are not functioning.
Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan partially resumed operations after closing on Wednesday but only Jet Blue flights will operate there for now.