Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and others arrived in Puerto Rico Friday to provide assistance to the communities devastated by Hurricane Maria.
“To me, this is personal,” Velázquez (D-Brooklyn) said at a news conference before the officials boarded a plane at Kennedy Airport. “I have not been able to talk to my family yet.”
Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, the strongest storm the U.S. territory has seen in nearly 90 years, on Wednesday and Thursday. It knocked out the island’s power and several rivers hit record flood levels.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said earlier this week it could take up to six months to restore power to the entire island.
Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló made a request to Cuomo on Thursday for goods and services to aid in the island’s recovery.
“Gov. Rosselló didn’t have to ask,” Cuomo said at the news conference. “In New York, we are family with the Puerto Rican community, and with family, you don’t have to ask for help.”
Cuomo was joined by Velázquez, state Assemb. Marcos Crespo (D-Bronx), a delegation of national guard troops and New York Power Authority engineers, planners, technical supervisors and translators, who will help determine how to restore power to the island, he said.
The supplies they are bringing include generators, 36,000 bottles of water, 10,000 meals, 3,000 canned goods, 1,400 cots, blankets and pillows, and 500 flashlights.
The delegation was scheduled to fly back Friday evening, Cuomo said, adding that additional national guard troops and Black Hawk helicopters were ready to be deployed in the coming days.
Last week, Cuomo, who is frequently floated as a potential Democratic presidential contender in 2020, traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands for a day to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Irma and offered relief in the way of emergency personnel to help with search and rescue missions.
With Newsday and Reuters