Trump extends Puerto Rico disaster aid for 1-3 months

National Guardsmen help clean up Puerto Rico on October 2 after Hurricane Maria. Friday, President Donald Trump ordered an extension of disaster aid. File Photo by Sgt. Alexis Velez/PRNG/UPI

Feb. 23 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Friday authorized an extension of federal benefits to Puerto Rico, because the island still has not fully recovered from Hurricane Maria.

The declaration calls for an extension of “increased federal funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures.”

Trump’s order follows the expiration of a similar program from September, in which the federal government agreed to underwrite 100 percent of the cost of certain emergency actions.

The new order calls for a 90-day extension on federal funding for debris removal, and a 60-day extension on funding for emergency protective measures.

Maria brought 155-mph winds to Puerto Rico, cut power to thousands of residents and seriously interrupted food and medical care. Some parts of the commonwealth still lack electrical power, more than five months later.

An official toll says 64 Puerto Ricans died from Maria, but George Washington University said this week it will send a team of investigators to examine the death rate.

Some estimates put the toll in the thousands, because of the storm’s lingering effects.


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