Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) returned from Puerto Rico on Sunday night, after her visit to the island with Members of the House Homeland Security Committee to survey the damage and assess the federal government’s response to Hurricane Fiona.The Congressional Delegation (CODEL) was led by Representative Val Demings (FL-10), who serves as Chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery – the Committee has direct oversight over FEMA, the agency responsible for coordination of federal recovery operations in Puerto Rico.
On Sunday, Congresswoman and her Congressional colleagues were briefed by FEMA, Governor Pedro Pierluisi, and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colón on the current conditions on the island and the coordinated response. The Congresswoman then traveled to various parts of the island to see the damage from the hurricane up-close to better understand the human costs and infrastructure challenges. She heard from residents who had been cut-off from direct access to other parts of the island and who were still without electricity and running water – and helped hand-out toiletries and other necessities to one rural community.
Upon arrival on Saturday, the Congresswoman went directly to meet with World Central Kitchen staff in Caguas, Chef José Andrés’ non-profit that works in disaster areas to deliver meals to impacted families and communities. She traveled with World Central Kitchen staff and Caguas Mayor William Miranda Torres to a rural part of the province to survey the damage and distribute meals, water, and supplies to local residents.
“We heard directly from Puerto Rican officials, residents, non-profit organizations, emergency responders, and federal officials as we toured several provinces on the island on the impact and damage caused by Hurricane Fiona and the coordinated efforts to recover,” said Rep. Barragán. “I commend the Biden Administration and FEMA for their rapid response and deployment of resources and staff to the island, but more must be done. Too many Puerto Ricans are still without water, food, and power, and we need to make sure we surge the resources necessary to the island to get these basic necessities to everyone. Our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters are American citizens, and they deserve nothing but the same urgent response and commitment to rebuild and recover as communities on the mainland. We will continue to press FEMA and the Biden Administration to provide the resources Puerto Rico needs – and ensure that the resources and money get to those who need them.”
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