Earlier on Tuesday, as Hurricane María descends on Puerto Rico —the strongest storm to hit the island in 89 years— Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló gave an address in English about the storm:
My fellow Americans, as I speak to you right now the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is just hours away from being hit by Hurricane Maria, which the experts at the National Weather Service are describing as catastrophic.
We have not experienced an event of this magnitude in our modern history. In face of this imminent disaster, on behalf of the people of Puerto Rico I want to take a moment to give special thanks to the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, for his personal attention and the tremendous support that we have gotten from his administration in this process.
The FEMA Administrator “Brock” Long and his entire team have responded extraordinarily and have been collaborating with our local agencies around the clock. Secretary of HHS, Dr. Tom Price, has also gone above and beyond supporting the people of Puerto Rico.
Also I want to thank all the members of Congress whom have taken the time to call me, express their support for Puerto Rico.
Before this hurricane season started, our island had been battered by a storm of fiscal and demographic challenges. However, with the passage of Hurricane Irma the people of Puerto Rico not only demonstrated our resilience but we banded together to show our kindness and hospitality to thousands of our fellow Americans in the US Virgin Islands, BVI, St. Marteen and beyond.
Without thinking twice, Puerto Rico became the launchpad of America’s hurricane disaster rescue and recovery operation, and a safe haven for many left stranded by the fury of the hurricane in the neighboring islands.
Now we’re looking down the barrel of María, a historic category 5 hurricane. Although it looks like a direct hit with major damage to Puerto Rico is inevitable, I ask for America’s prayers.
My administration has done everything within our power to prepare for this event and to protect the lives of everyone in the island, including establishing over 500 shelters. We know this will be tough, but I have faith in our resiliency and capacity to rebuild.
No matter what happens here in the next 36 hours, Puerto Rico will survive, we will rebuild, we will recover and with your support, we will come out stronger than ever. God Bless Puerto Rico and God bless the United States of America