US Officials Visit Puerto Rico, Oversee Hurricane Prep

Jun 15, 2020
9:53 PM

92 year-old María Matilde Parrilla (right) looks up while a municipal worker points a faulty joint holding her wood and zinc made roof just days before the new hurricane season begins, in Loíza, Puerto Rico, Thursday, May 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Federal officials on Monday praised Puerto Rico’s hurricane preparedness and pledged additional help as they reviewed disaster recovery efforts during the start of a weeklong visit to the U.S. territory.

Rear Admiral Peter Brown, the island’s federal reconstruction coordinator, said the island is better prepared this hurricane season than the time before Hurricane Maria struck as a Category 4 storm, killing an estimated 2,975 people in its aftermath and causing more than an estimated $100 billion in damage.

He said much progress has been made to prepare for what is forecast to be an unusually active hurricane season despite recent setbacks including a series of strong earthquakes and the coronavirus pandemic.

Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez said more than 300 shelters are available and capable of housing some 42,000 people with social distancing measures. She added that the government also has more than 10,000 cots, hundreds of generators and more than 6,000 meals available, three times that before Maria struck.

Brown is expected to tour the island along with officials from agencies including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.