fbpx
FedEx Establishes Direct Presence in Nigeria to Support Customers with International TradeRead more Open Society Foundations (OSF) Award $1.1 Million Grant to Afrobarometer to Spur Future GrowthRead more The annual Global Impact Conference 2022 brings together visionary business leaders to revolutionize educational systems and inspire collaborative actionRead more APO Group announces content partnership with Pan-African broadcaster VoxAfricaRead more MainOne, an Equinix Company’s MDXi Appolonia Achieves Tier III Constructed Facility certification (TCCF), Now Most Certified Data Center in GhanaRead more United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warns rising tide of hunger, insecurity, and underfunding worsening gender-based violence risksRead more The Royal Thai Embassy presents the cultures of Thailand at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Festival in KenyaRead more Climate change is the biggest global threat, young people in Africa and Europe tell European Investment Bank (EIB), Debating Africa and Debating EuropeRead more $2 million in prizes awarded at Conference of the Parties (COP27) to African youth-led businessesRead more Africa and Europe’s top business and public sector leaders gather to chart Africa’s economic rebirthRead more

Biden heads to storm-hit Puerto Rico

show caption
US President Joe Biden speaks in the White House on September 30, 2022 about the federal response to Hurricane Ian./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

Oct 03, 2022 - 08:40 AM

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden head to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico on Monday, in a bid to show solidarity with a US territory whose people have complained of neglect after past natural disasters.

The high-profile trip will be the first of two this week for the Bidens, who head on Wednesday to Florida to assess the devastating damage caused by Hurricane Ian.

Both Puerto Rico and Florida suffered numerous deaths, widespread power outages, dangerous flooding and grievous property damage from the recent hurricanes of rare intensity — first Fiona, then Ian.

No details of the Bidens’ trip have been announced, though visits to disaster zones are a customary duty of presidents.

But on Saturday, the president told a Congressional Black Caucus dinner that “our hearts… are heavy from the devastating hurricanes and storms in Puerto Rico, Florida and South Carolina. And we owe Puerto Rico a hell of a lot more than they’ve already gotten.”

Twenty-five people are believed to have died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Fiona, according to the island’s public health department, which is still investigating how 12 of the fatalities occurred.

The entire US territory lost power and about one million people were left temporarily without drinking water, when Fiona — then a powerful Category 4 storm — hammered the island in mid-September.

Biden declared a state of emergency for Puerto Rico on September 18.

Island residents — all US citizens — have complained of being overlooked by Washington after previous disasters, including the devastating hit from twin hurricanes, Irma and Maria, in 2017.

Florida, where Hurricane Ian roared on land Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, is still struggling to assess the extensive damage, particularly on its southwest coast.

The confirmed death toll from Ian, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US mainland, has soared to at least 58 in Florida and four in North Carolina with rescuers still searching for survivors in submerged neighborhoods.

More than 700,000 Floridians remained without power Sunday, according to the PowerOutage.us website, and officials said it could take months — and perhaps $50 billion or more — to rebuild devastated coastal zones.

Governments — federal, state and local — are often judged by the effectiveness of their response to such disasters.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf coast, critics castigated then-president George W. Bush after photos showed him surveying damage while flying high overhead.

And after then-president Donald Trump, on a visit to Puerto Rico after the earlier storms there, took a basketball-style shot to distribute rolls of paper towels, the mayor of capital city San Juan called it “insulting” and “abominable.”

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.