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"The White House’s request of $44 billion dollars for Puerto Rico’s emergency response and recovery is too little, too late – and follows the US Government’s continuing and disturbing lack of urgency in the wake of this disaster. Several estimates have showed that the funding requested for Puerto Rico is just a fraction of what is needed to tackle the massive needs that remain in the Puerto Rico.
Oxfam is calling once again for the federal government to provide robust and urgent funding, paired with logistical support and coordination, to ensure that power is restored, and that the immediate needs of Puerto Ricans – like clean drinking water and food, safe shelter, and health care – are met, and that they are supported in the long road to recovery.
Puerto Rican and US Virgin Island citizens should not be treated any differently from their counterparts in Texas or Florida, but of the $51.8 billion that has been released since September, Puerto Rico has received less than one/fifth.
Logistical challenges in particular have been cited as a barrier – from the delivery of tarps, water and food, to completing a full assessment of needs, but that is no excuse two months later. Oxfam delivers emergency assistance in countries with far more logistically challenging humanitarian conditions, including with foreign governments in developing countries, with far fewer delays for post-disaster assessments and the delivery of relief.
The ball is now in Congress’ court, and they have the chance to do the right thing for the people of Puerto Rico. Without commitment and leadership from the White House and Congress, the response Puerto Rico continues to drag, while millions in Puerto Rico face the upcoming holidays in the dark."