WASHINGTON – The White House announced on Thursday that the United States President Donald Trump has authorized the increase of the disaster assistance to Puerto Rico, taking on 90 percent of the cost of rebuilding public infrastructure, including restoring the power grid destroyed by Hurricane Maria in September.
The expenditure, which will be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is higher than the usual 75 percent that Washington normally assumes in such cases.
Apart from the reconstruction of public infrastructure, Trump also “authorized a 100 percent Federal cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures,” the White House said.
“The President has authorized assistance conditioned upon having extra controls on project cost estimation and project management in place to facilitate the expeditious rebuilding of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure,” the statement added.
The “controls” refers to ensuring proper utilization of federal tax dollars and cost-effective activities.
Trump had been criticized for not taking the disaster situation in Puerto Rico seriously.
The president had also lashed out at the Puerto Rican local authorities for wanting the US to do everything.
Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, leaving at least 54 dead, destroying the island’s power grid and causing a massive humanitarian crisis that further worsened the economic crisis.
So far, only 30 percent of people have recovered power supply.