After Hurricane Maria swept through the unincorporated US territory island of Puerto Rico, “complete devastation” remained behind. In response to the destruction, Governor Ricardo Rossello requested more aid from the Pentagon in particular to provide more search-and-rescue support and other humanitarian help.
Rossello said, “We need more resources from the Department of Defense so we can get helicopters and resources. We know that there are capabilities in the surrounding areas, helicopters, planes and so forth. And our petition is for us to be able to use them.”
The Defense Department said that there are six Navy helicopters and three Osprey planes from the Marines that are working on search-and-rescue now, as well as assessing the overall damage to the island.
Several days after the hurricane pummeled the island there were still many areas without communication to either the capital city of San Juan, or the outside world. Because roads are destroyed, the commonwealth government sent out people by foot to find out what the situation is in other parts of Puerto Rico.
Rosello also urged President Trump to lower the amount spent on disaster relief that would need to be paid back to the US government by Puerto Rico, which has been suffering a severe economic crisis in recent years. Rossello also requested that Congress treat his island just like any other US state when deciding on a broad and inclusive emergency aid package.
“Whatever relief package we have, whatever impact we have, we are U.S. citizens,” Rossello said. “We shouldn’t be the lesser for it.”