Yet discontent with colonial rule led to a growing independence movement on the island, and Spain granted … âWeâve received calls from people crying,â Ms. Aponte said. In March, Governor VÃ¡zquez announced a $787 million stimulus package, which included $160 million in grants to small businesses and the self-employed. And then last week, the largest earthquake to hit the island in a century made things worse. Her letter urged it to approve a bill that would allocate nearly $5 billion in emergency supplement funding after Trump approved a major disaster declaration for more than two dozen Puerto Rican municipalities following the earthquake. Puerto Rico has seen more than 1,400 earthquakes, primarily in its southwest region, since December 28, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The ballot presented a simple yes-or-no question with a straightforward response. Experts say that her quick action helped stave off an even worse medical crisis on the island. Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover from a devastating 2017 hurricane season. Puerto Rico's new labor secretary, Carlos Rivera Santiago, acknowledged that there were delays in getting unemployment checks to those who needed them, but said the government had opened more offices and improved online services to address the backlog. However, Brown warned it will take years for Puerto Rico to recover from the hurricane and earthquakes. âI arrived here at 11 p.m. âÂ I need the money, I have to pay rent, buy food,â Mr. Rivera said. It became a critical military outpost, allowing Spain to defend its New World colonies against other European powers. SAN JUAN, P.R. Comedores Sociales received 8,000 requests for help in the first two months of the pandemic. âNow that people donât have that valve, thatâs a real concern.â. Puerto Ricoâs official unemployment rate has not been reported since February, but Mr. Caraballo-Cueto estimates that it is now close to 40 percent. Current views on the status of Puerto Rico include these: Current views on the status of Puerto Rico include these: Ignore the political status of Puerto Rico until the Island has recovered from the 2017 Hurricane season. A government worker collected information from unemployment applicants in San Juan. Copyright 2020 by Wells Media Group, Inc. Trumps Want Court to Approve Arbitration for Marketing Fraud Lawsuit, Aviva in Talks to Sell Units in France, Poland and Italy, CEO Confirms, Insurers Looking Into Rise in Lawsuits Against Firms Over Lack of Diversity, Starbucks Barista Who Declined to Wear Gay Pride T-Shirt Sues Over Firing. By mid-2019, room availability will rise from 11,000 to more than 15,000. Iâve been surviving with the little I have left.â, Pandemic Plunges Puerto Rico Into Yet Another Dire Emergency. Puerto Rico Earthquake Communications Status Report for Jan. 10, 2020 Full Title: Communications Status Report for Areas Impacted by Puerto Rico Earthquakes January 10, 2020 Document Type(s): Public Notice Copyright 2020 Associated Press. âWe have to reinvent ourselves, change the way we work. Around 30,000 people in Puerto Rico are still living without solid roofs over their heads two years on from Hurricane Maria. President Donald Trump signs delayed disaster relief legislation. Alex Amparo, Puerto Rico’s coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the agency was tentatively approving 10-15 projects a month six months ago. Puerto Rico is expected to receive $13 billion in Covid-related federal funds, according to the Financial Oversight and Management Board, the agency that has managed Puerto Ricoâs finances since it defaulted on $72 billion in debt. In 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused extensive damage throughout Puerto Rico, destroying roads and buildings and cutting power and communication lines. Twenty-six have been a magnitude of 4.5 or higher. Puerto Rico is second only to Nevada in the number of people filing for jobless benefits. February 2020 PUERTO RICO DISASTER RECOVERY FEMA Actions Needed to Strengthen Project Cost Estimation and Awareness of Program Guidance What GAO Found As … âThe effect on poverty could be quite bad,â Ms. Enchautegui said. Puerto Rico Economic Growth The economy is set to recover mildly in FY 2021 (July 2020–June 2021), as growth is not expected until the second half of the year due to lingering uncertainty over the evolution of the pandemic and its associated measures weighing on activity. A postal workerâs video went viral when he showed unemployment checks stuck in mail purgatory because they had been addressed to âSameâ: Many applicants had written their home addresses on the form and then, when asked for their mailing address, wrote âsame as above.â. Many Puerto Ricans have informal off-the-books jobs that do not qualify them for unemployment benefits, making the situation on the island even more complicated, said Amanda M. Rivera, the instituteâs executive director. In addition to helping hurricane victims, FEMA also is providing federal funds for those affected by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Jan. 7 followed by strong aftershocks that damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes along the island’s south coast. US territory Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria one year ago. A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico before dawn on Tuesday, killing one man, injuring others and collapsing buildings in the southern part of the island. After weeks of chaotic scenes like the one Mr. Soto experienced, the government implemented a more orderly indoor process, with socially distanced seats where weary applicants wait for their appointments. The board has estimated that Puerto Ricoâs economy will contract by 4 percent. Puerto Rico's recovery following the devastating Hurricane Maria was slow and uneven. “I think he will be convinced that federal money and federal efforts is being spent wisely here.”. âAfter the hurricane, there was a valve, a place people could go where things were normal,â Ms. Rivera said. He stressed that the key to recovery will be injecting money into the economy. JosÃ© Caraballo-Cueto, an associate professor at the University of Puerto Rico, said the rollout of the stimulus was problematic, because it gave priority to things like hazard pay for front-line workers, who were still employed. The agency received her request for an emergency declaration from the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that occurred earlier today, and that request is under consideration. Updated November 23, 2020 Generally, Puerto Rico is a safe place to visit. Puerto Rico in mid-June had the highest insured unemployment rate in the country, at 23 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Updated November 23, 2020 It's no secret that Puerto Rico has had a hard go of things lately. Thanks largely to hurricane reconstruction, Puerto Ricoâs economy had been inching toward recovery after a devastating 2017 storm and the bankruptcy of the islandâs government the same year. Puerto Rico’s yearslong power woes are yet another tale of vulnerabilities in the nation’s utilities laid bare by disaster, the result of mismanagement and failure to maintain equipment. Puerto Rico earthquake leaves heavy damage 01:49 A magnitude 5.9 quake shook Puerto Rico on Saturday, causing further damage along the island's … The comments by Peter Brown, White House special representative for Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery, came after he met for the first time with officials in the U.S. territory amid criticism that the local and federal government response has been slow. As of last week, despite guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that everyone should be washing their hands frequently during the coronavirus pandemic, the governor announced that because of a severe drought, parts of the island would have running water only every other day for the foreseeable future. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. If the promised aid does not quickly arrive, she said, the poverty rate among workers in businesses affected by the recent lockdowns could climb to 77 percent. âI submitted everything a month ago, and I havenât received anything. The U.S. Congress has approved nearly $50 billion to help Puerto Rico, but federal officials have only disbursed roughly $15 billion. Sept. 20, 2020, 9:30 AM UTC By Nicole Acevedo Angel Perez was on his way to visit his parents in his native Arecibo, a coastal town in Puerto Rico about an … Oct 08, 2020 Ugh. As a result, on an island that already had the highest poverty rate in the United States, at least 300,000 Puerto Ricans have filed unemployment claims linked to the pandemic â out of a civilian labor force of 1.05 million â and many others are ineligible for aid because they are part of the islandâs large informal economy. But the pandemic has nonetheless plunged Puerto Rico into its fifth dire emergency in three years, one that the government has struggled to manage. “The reputation seems to lag the reality. About $350 million in federal funds went to the private sector to help pay employees at businesses that were disrupted, according to a Puerto Rico government report. Volunteers prepared bags of food in June at Comedores Sociales, a food bank in San Juan. “It is my hope Congress acts quickly to respond to the island in this time of great need.”, Photo: Homes are damaged after an earthquake struck Guanica, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. With some local help, we created this guide to staying safe in Puerto Rico! Experts say corruption fears and federal bureaucracy have slowed the recovery. By 5 a.m., more than 400 others were also at the convention center, and many furious people were turned away. Ever since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm in September 2017, Trump has been accused of delaying and denying aid to the U.S. territory amid concerns of corruption and government inefficiency on the island. Wanda Vazquez wrote to the U.S. Senate. â With hundreds of thousands of people suddenly out of jobs in Puerto Rico, Luciano Soto, a tour guide who has not worked in nearly four months, wanted to be first in line at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, now outfitted as an unemployment office. Puerto Rico’s economy has shown considerable signs of improvement after the hit form hurricanes Irma and Maria two years ago, while the U.S. Virgin Islands economy remains “mired in a … Thousands remain in … The reality is improving,” he said, adding that he will report to U.S. President Donald Trump upon his return to the U.S. mainland. PONCE, Puerto Rico – More than $104 million in federal disaster assistance is helping fuel the recovery of Puerto Rico residents and businesses … The … Puerto Rico estimates that $132 billion will be needed to repair and reconstruct its infrastructure and services. He stressed that the key to recovery will be injecting money into the economy. A civic uprising paralyzed the island last summer and led to the ouster of Governor VÃ¡zquezâs predecessor. So far, the island has had 8,714 confirmed and likely cases of the virus, and 157 deaths. Now, it’s up to 160 projects per month. âWould you take a cruise right now, even if someone gave it to you for free?â. Working toward a sustainable economic future for the people of Puerto Rico The people of Puerto Rico find themselves in the center of a manmade disaster made worse by a natural disaster. Remote work has become the order of the day, and that was not very usual in Puerto Rico.â. “This is not a one-time injection of money into the economy or infrastructure of Puerto Rico… Continuity is vital.”. In post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico, informal housing, vacant units and federal funding issues need to be addressed for the island to recover effectively in 2019. “We’re seeing results,” he said. âThe claims were the biggest we ever saw, since the beginning of recording unemployment in the 1980s,â Mr. Caraballo-Cueto said. In a projection released Monday, … Puerto Rico News, Analysis and Opinion from POLITICO Facebook Twitter 2020 Elections The demographic that could tip Pennsylvania By LAURA BARRÓN-LÓPEZ and HOLLY OTTERBEIN 10/27/2020 … But the island is a fantastic place to visit—and it's totally possible to start planning your trip! A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico … Roberto Rivera, 55, a driver for a guided tour company, slept in his car one night a few weeks ago, his crutches by his side, so he would be the first in line for a short-lived drive-through service center established by the Labor Department to receive disaster unemployment assistance applications. âThis is going to go on for a while,â said Mr. Soto, 57, who is worried that the cruise industry he depends on will not quickly recover. For everything from safety tips to . People lined up before dawn to file for unemployment benefits in San Juan last month. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti). Breaking News & Recent Headlines NOAA scientists discover a new species of a gelatinous animal in the waters near Puerto Rico November 28, 2020 11:52 pm CNN The newly named Duobrachium sparksae was discovered two and a half miles below sea level by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries research team. Photo: Homes are damaged after an earthquake struck Guanica, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. She turned to a local food bank for help, vowing to go back to school and start her own business. The newly appointed U.S. official charged with overseeing disaster recovery in Puerto Rico said this week that while the pace of federally funded projects to help hurricane and earthquake victims has quickened, he’s worried about long term efforts. Some 25,000 to … Subject to updates. Christopher Columbus reached the island that would become Puerto Rico, then home to the indigenous Taino people, in 1493, ushering in more than four hundred years of Spanish rule. GUANICA, Puerto Rico — Powerful earthquakes this week, including a major 6.4-magnitude temblor early Tuesday morning, triggered widespread power … For one thing, aid has not come pouring in from around the world, as it did after disasters of the natural kind. Maria Enchautegui, an economist at the Youth Development Institute of Puerto Rico, a policy and research organization, said the greatest challenge was the technical capacity of the islandâs Labor Department, which was too limited to deal with the crush of applications. All rights reserved. The island has had to weather a hurricane, a political crisis and earthquakes, but those crises did not lead to the widespread unemployment caused by the response to the coronavirus pandemic. “The U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico have faced drastic challenges in recent years from the debt crisis to the severe storm damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” she wrote. A magnitude 5.9 quake struck Puerto Rico on Saturday morning, four days after a 6.4 magnitude quake in the same area and amid a swarm of more … It said I was unemployed, effective immediately. Thousands of people were left waiting for their checks as Puerto Ricoâs understaffed bureaucracy struggled to keep up with the flood of claims. âI was working from home, and I got an email. Mr. Soto finally got his money last week, after finding three of his checks at the post office: The government had mailed them to the wrong address. Puerto Rico’s Recovery Efforts Stymied by Colonial Status Professor Déborah Berman-Santana’s discusses the cynical manipulation of post-Maria recovery efforts. While the storm spared Puerto Rico of much damage, it raised attention to how the island is still in recovery mode — and ill-equipped for another natural disaster. And with Covid-19 creating serious problems in Florida and other parts of the United States, unemployed Puerto Ricans, who fled to the mainland in droves after Hurricane Maria, have nowhere to turn. “Expect that to continue.”. Brown, who previously served as commander of the Miami-based U.S. Coast Guard’s Seventh District, said that while he’s aware many were dissatisfied with the pace of recovery, it has changed dramatically in part because of the relationship with Puerto Rico’s new governor. Then a series of earthquakes shook the south side of the island in January, damaging homes and buildings, sending thousands to live on the street, and closing schools across the island. And when they most need a straightforward plan to get them out of debt and into recovery, they are instead being promised solutions that make no sense. My income was the strongest of my household, and I have a 4-year-old child.â. Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The New York Times. A series of small earthquakes began hitting Puerto Rico on December 28, with the first major quake, at 5.8 magnitude, coming Monday, January 6. Gov. The poverty rate did not climb after Hurricane Maria in 2017, she said, despite expertsâ predictions, because so many people left the island. Experts say this latest economic crisis has been even more difficult than the one that followed Hurricane Maria. The government also set aside some special Covid-related federal grants to help heavily affected sectors like hospitals and tourism. Wanda VÃ¡zquez was the first governor in the nation to order businesses to close and people to stay home. It will send $19 billion in aid to Puerto Rico and several states battered by hurricanes, flooding, fires and earthquakes. I guess we'll spend our vacation dollars elsewhere.... Oct 08, 2020 Covid-19 Test requirements Oct 07, 2020 Amparo said FEMA has received nearly 30,000 requests for assistance and issued some $19 million as a result, including $5 million for rental housing. By the eighteenth century, Puerto Rico had become a major exporter of tobacco, coffee, and sugarcane. Puerto Rico's public utility, PREPA said 99% of its customers' electricity has been restored following last week's 6.4 earthquake. The islandâs labor secretary, Briseida Torres, resigned in June, when public fury was mounting over the long lines and delayed payouts, including associated delays in receiving federal stimulus checks. As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe, shutting businesses, killing the vulnerable and crippling economies, Puerto Rico has taken one of the countryâs hardest economic hits. âAnd the government pretended to process all of those new claims with the same number of employees they always had.â. The next morning, before dawn, a 6.4 quake hit, damaging hundreds of buildings, leaving thousands without shelter, and killing one person. It covers everything from the coronavirus to tap water to safety in San Juan. Field teams from the USGS Geologic Hazards Science Center in Colorado have been on the ground in Puerto Rico this week surveying changes to the island’s landscape, including numerous rock falls and damage to buildings. The meeting with Brown came just days after Gov. Paola Aponte Cotto, a worker there, said she spends 20 hours a week on the phone, fielding requests. 2020 Puerto Rico Earthquake SequenceEarthquakes detected between December 28, 2019 as of January 16, 2020. Since then, claims have started being paid, but workers without jobs have remained deeply unsettled. . It is unclear how many people have returned to work since the governor authorized businesses to reopen in mid-June. On land, 135 hotels - about 75 percent of the lodging stock - are accepting reservations. At Puerto Rico Report, our focus is on the political status of Puerto Rico. The food bank, Comedores Sociales, said that it received 8,000 requests for help in the first two months of the pandemic. âI lost my job on June 1,â said Marelys Figueroa, 27, who was a marketing and recruitment officer at a university. More than 300,000 people are now getting benefits, Mr. Rivera Santiago said, while total claims in two available assistance programs have reached 500,000. âItâs a challenge, and one Puerto Rico is going to confront,â he said. As Puerto Rico reels from devastating earthquakes and aftershocks, the island is still waiting on more than $18 billion from the federal government in … “My main concern is sustainability,” he said. January 7, 2020 Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor has been in constant communication and coordination with Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez. She noted that more than 100 public schools remain closed and nearly 900 people are still in shelters after the earthquake, all while Puerto Rico is mired in a 13-year recession. Get Free Insurance Industry News Updates Delivered to Your Email! âThe callers who are most shocked are the ones who lost their jobs.â. In a plebiscite held on November 3, 2020, Puerto Ricans went to the polls and voted once again for Puerto Rico to be admitted as a state of the United States. He showed up at 8 p.m. one night a few weeks ago, with a lunchbox full of snacks, prepared to spend the night, so that he could find out why the unemployment benefits he had applied for months earlier had never arrived. These photos show what Puerto Rico's slow recovery looks like, as Hurricane Dorian barrels down on the island. Puerto Rico saw weeks of chaotic scenes in unemployment lines. Puerto Rico 2020 8:16 pm Isla verde or Condado yesterday Suggestions on lodging for a group of 20? The scene resembled gasoline lines that formed during Hurricane Maria, but were much longer, as thousands of people traveled overnight from different parts of Puerto Rico to arrive at the convention center before sunrise, driving on dark highways where the streetlights have not been turned on since government austerity cuts three years ago.