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Article

29 Oct 2017

Author:
Dana Drugmand, Climate Liability News

Environmental justice organizations call for just & sustainable aid package for Puerto Rico ravaged by Hurricane Maria

"How Will Puerto Rico, Devastated and Drowning in Debt, Pay to Rebuild?," 23 October 2017

One month after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico...human suffering continues amid a deepening debt crisis. With hurricane recovery costs alone estimated to reach as high as $95 billion, with an estimated 80 percent of the island still without power and 30 percent without clean water, the question of where that money comes from remains unanswered...

The House of Representatives has authorized a federal disaster aid package with a $5 billion loan to Puerto Rico included in the mix... [However] Rep. José E. Serrano (D-NY) [noted] “much more will be necessary to bring Puerto Rico back to normalcy.”... [Its] outdated and now destroyed electric grid will need to be rebuilt entirely. Many predict...an acceleration of the population drain that has been sapping the island for years... And storms like Maria are expected to get even more damaging and more costly as climate change raises sea levels and warms oceans.

The island’s predicament is exactly the scenario that has prompted coastal communities to look ahead at potential destruction and plan for mitigation. Coastal communities in California…have decided to sue the fossil fuel industry for its role in global warming to pay to protect its infrastructure and people...

[A]dvocates [calling for a just and sustainable recovery for Puerto Rico] are demanding Congress pass an immediate Just Recovery and Relief Aid Package for Puerto Rico that includes [amongst others] full debt relief [and] a complete infrastructure assessment...