Governor Cuomo Making Available More Than 34,000 Bottles of Water, 9,600 Ready to Eat Meals, 3,000 Canned Goods, 500 Flashlights, 1,400 Cots, 1,400 Pillows, 1,400 Blankets and 10 Generators.
Albany, NY - September 22, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and a delegation of administration officials departed this morning for Puerto Rico to deliver emergency supplies, help the community repair its devastated power structure, and assist in relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The trip follows Governor Ricardo Rosselló's official governor to governor request through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact for mutual aid. In response to the request, Governor Cuomo immediately made available more than 34,000 bottles of water, 9,600 ready to eat meals, 3,000 canned goods, 500 flashlights, 1,400 cots, 1,400 blankets, 1,400 pillows and 10 10kw generators. Additionally, Governor Cuomo has announced that 60 members of the New York Army National Guard, four Black Hawk helicopters and 50 State Police are on standby. This flight, on aircraft donated by JetBlue, is the first flight to depart for San Juan since Hurricane Maria.
"Puerto Rico is part of the New York family, and we stand with our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters as they begin to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Maria," Governor Cuomo said. "We have assembled top emergency response experts to support Puerto Rico and help repair its devastated power structure, and we are providing supplies and any additional assistance we can to support the island as they recover from this unprecedented natural disaster."
Governor Ricardo Rosselló said, "In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, I have made an official Governor to Governor request that Governor Cuomo and the State of New York provide essential goods, services, and expertise to help us assess the devastation and develop a plan for recovery. Puerto Rico has endured an horrific ordeal and we are lucky to have a friend like Governor Cuomo and New York State who we share a close bond and deep history with. I want to thank the Governor for accepting my invitation to travel to Puerto Rico, and the people of New York for always standing by our side in difficult times and we appreciate the support as we begin the rebuilding process."
Robin Hayes, president and CEO, JetBlue, said, "We are honored to support this relief flight, the first of many to come, as the people of Puerto Rico begin to recover from this terrible event. Our hearts go out to all those impacted. We thank Gov. Cuomo for his leadership in the recovery efforts, and the National Guard for their on-the-ground support of the people of Puerto Rico. As the largest airline in Puerto Rico, we are in a unique position to work with them to support our crewmembers, customers and communities across the island."
"We commend Governor Cuomo's leadership to quickly organize resources and personnel to help Puerto Rico rebuild," said Francis McGorry, President, Tri-State Metro Operating Unit, Coca-Cola Refreshments. "Coca-Cola always stands ready to help when people are in need. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the devastation from Hurricane Maria."
Prior to departing, Governor Cuomo ordered assets from the New York State stockpiles to be ready for deployment and gathered a coalition of organizations to provide a number of assets and essential resources and at the request of Governor Rosselló, including:
More than 34,000 bottles of water donated by The Coca-Cola Company;
9,600 ready to eat meals;
3,000 canned goods donated by the National Supermarket Association;
500 flashlights; and
10 10kW generators.
The New York Power Authority is also sending a crew of 10 personnel, including translators, supervisors and engineers along with drones and two drone pilots from the Department of Environmental Conservation to assist with the assessment and reconstruction of Puerto Rico's power grid.
New York State shares many deep ties with Puerto Rico. Many New York-based companies employ thousands in Puerto Rico at many locations across the island,
and 1.2 million New Yorkers, or 5.7 percent of the population, are of Puerto Rican ethnicity. This means that more Puerto Ricans live in New York than anywhere else outside the island. According to estimates in the 2016 American Community Survey, there are 280,904 residents in the State of New York who claimed Puerto Rico as their place of birth.
This trip is not this first time that Governor Cuomo's has visited Puerto Rico either. In 1998, as Secretary for Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton, then-Secretary Cuomo traveled to the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges to assess damage and speed up the delivery of federal assistance. In 2015, Governor Cuomo traveled to Puerto Rico twice as part of solidarity missions to assist the island with its ongoing healthcare crisis and economic challenges.
Hurricane Maria was the strongest storm to hit the U.S. territory since 1928 and one of the strongest to ever make landfall in the U.S. Maria hit the U.S. territory September 20 as a Category 4 storm with winds reaching 155 miles per hour, knocking out electricity across the entire island, rendering an estimated 3.4 million people without power. Puerto Rican Officials are estimating several months until energy grid will be repaired. At least one person is dead in Puerto Rico and Maria is being blamed for at least 18 deaths so far in the Caribbean. This situation is also poised threaten the Islands' economically critical winter tourism season as many of the locations sustaining damage include hotels, airports and other key infrastructure.
Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez said, "Hurricane Maria has left a trail of catastrophic damage across Puerto Rico that is now only fully coming into view. For the people on the Island, help is now coming. Governor Cuomo and the State of New York are stepping up to the plate in a big way and bringing personnel and supplies to the Island. With the airport reopening, time is of the essence and this assistance is absolutely critical to save lives. As we begin to assess the damage, I will work with the Governor and Congress to provide Puerto Rico with the additional resources it needs to rebuild and recover. I will not rest until the Island is made whole again."
Congressman José E. Serrano said, "Puerto Rico was devastated this week by Hurricane Maria, and as residents begin to pick up the pieces, our Governor has made it clear that New York will stand by Puerto Rico during this difficult time. With tons of resources and personnel on their way today, Puerto Ricans are rest assured that this state will do everything we can to salvage the belongings and lives of residents, and help rebuild once again."
Congressman Adriano Espaillat said, "New York is home to more Puerto Ricans than any other state than Puerto Rico herself, and this mission demonstrates once again that New York stands ready and willing to help neighbors in need. These desperately needed resources and personnel will make a critical difference to our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters, and I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership."
Senator Martin Dilan said, "A strong storm response is needed to help Puerto Rico recuperate and rebuild, and under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, necessary resources and personnel will make its way to island to expedite the recovery. I applaud this mission and New York's unwavering spirit of good neighborliness."
Senator Gustavo Rivera said, "New York has an unbreakable bond with the people of the Puerto Rico, and today we are stepping up for our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico in the wake of the devastating hurricane. I applaud Governor Cuomo for leading New York's response efforts to support the people of Puerto Rico. This assistance will play a critical role helping Puerto Rico on the long road to recovery."
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo said, "While it will take months and even years for Puerto Rico to recover from Hurricane Maria's wrath, New York stands shoulder to shoulder with our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters. This recovery effort and resource deployment is proof positive that New Yorkers will always stand up and lend a hand, and I am proud to be joining Governor Cuomo and other leaders to provide the assistance Puerto Rico needs on the path to recovery."
Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo said, "Governor Cuomo has long been a friend to Puerto Rico, so it is no surprise that in the face of the destruction left behind by Hurricane Maria, he steps up to the plate to deliver real options for the impending relief effort on the island. New York is home to tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans and we will be there to help the island with cleanup and response in the weeks and months to come."
Assemblyman Erik Dilan said, "Hurricane Maria has devastated Puerto Rico, knocking out power and upending lives all across the island. Today New York is stepping up to assist the people of Puerto Rico with personnel, expertise, and resources to support the island's recovery. Helping others is the New York way, and I am grateful that Governor Cuomo is spearheading this effort to deliver for our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico."
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said, "Puerto Rico faces a long road ahead in its recovery, and we must do everything to help during these challenging times. By deploying personnel and resources to the island, Governor Cuomo is showing that New York State stands by Puerto Rico as it rebuilds from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. New Yorkers always help their neighbors in times of crisis — and that's exactly what's happening."
Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. said, "With months and potentially years of recovery and clean up ahead, New York is sending a clear message to our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico - we are stepping up and we will be by your side during the long road ahead. I commend Governor Cuomo for recognizing the dire need for resources and personnel on the island, and for having the determination to see these efforts through."
New York City Council Member Annabel Palma said, "The island of Puerto Rico has been devastated, depleted of its resources, and is in dire need of relief. I commend Governor Cuomo for initiating a first step in the recovery effort by providing aid and assistance during this rebuilding process. I am deeply appreciative of our city and state leaders who continue to represent the greatest qualities of New York."
New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres said, "Puerto Rico faces a long road to recovery and by deploying these critical resources to the island, Governor Cuomo sends a clear message that New York State will continue to be a friend to Puerto Ricans in their time of need. Mother Nature has left a ruthless trail of destruction in recent weeks but New York will stand by our brothers and sisters when they need us most. I applaud the Governor for his swift action in responding to Hurricane Maria's wake."
Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer said, "On behalf of all New Yorkers, we send our thoughts and prayers to the men, women and children of Puerto Rico, as they begin to clean up and recover from the devastation left by Hurricane Maria. I thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing the dire situation and providing critical aid to ensure our brothers and sisters receive the help they need."
32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa said, "The destruction that Hurricane Maria has caused in Puerto Rico has touched many New Yorkers, and will require help from many sources in the days to come. I thank Governor Cuomo for providing resources and personnel to assist our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters as they begin to rebuild the island to make it stronger and more resilient."
Jill Furillo, New York State Nurses Association Executive Director, said, "I am proud to work alongside a Governor who understands what it means to be a leader and help our neighbors in need. The destruction and devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Maria cannot be ignored, and New York will do all that we can to help Puerto Rico during this difficult time. We keep the people of Puerto Rico in our thoughts as they clean up, repair, and recover."
José Calderón, President of the Hispanic Federation, said, "Helping our neighbors, and providing assistance and hope to those in need - it's in our blood as New Yorkers. Now more than ever, our neighbor island needs a helping hand, and under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, experts will be on the ground assisting residents through this tough time. I thank the Governor for offering the resources and aid that Puerto Ricans need, and showing the world who we really are."
Edwin Melendez, Ph.D. Director, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, City University of New York said, "A strong storm response is needed to help Puerto Rico recuperate and rebuild, and under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, necessary resources and personnel will make its way to island to expedite the recovery. I applaud this mission and New York's unwavering spirit of good neighborliness."
Raul Russi, CEO of the Acacia Network, said, "Our island was devastated this week by Hurricane Maria, and as residents begin to pick up the pieces, our Governor has made it clear that New York will stand by Puerto Rico during this difficult time. With tons of resources and personnel on their way today, Puerto Ricans are rest assured that this state will do everything we can to salvage the belongings and lives of residents, and help rebuild once again."
Carmen Pacheco, President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, said, "In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Governor Cuomo has stepped up to offer resources and assistance that Puerto Rico's residents need. It is only right that New Yorkers stand in solidarity with our fellow American citizens during this difficult time. I am proud to support the Governor and other courageous New Yorkers traveling to the island today to provide humanitarian aide. On behalf of all New Yorkers, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican Bar is ready to provide legal assistance, when appropriate, to assist the legal needs of Puerto Ricans. As the diaspora, we are "all in" to assist all Puerto Rican's and their family's affected by this disaster."
Rudy Fuertes, President of the National Supermarket Association said, "The National Supermarket Association commends Governor Cuomo for his leadership in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The Governor has stepped up to offer resources and assistance that the Puerto Rico's residents so desperately need. It is only right that New Yorkers stand with our neighbor island during this difficult time, and the national supermarket association is proud to support the people of Puerto Rico as well as the courageous New Yorkers who are traveling to the island today. On behalf of all New Yorkers, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Puerto Rico."