Updated Oct 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden announces $60M for Puerto Rico flood protections

Hurricane fiona flooding in Puerto Rico

A flooded street in the Juana Matos neighborhood of Catano, Puerto Rico, on Sept. 19 after Hurricane Fiona. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Coinciding with his visit on Monday, President Biden announced the administration will provide $60 million to Puerto Rico to help the island shore up protections against future storms.

Driving the news: More than two weeks after Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico, 122,130 customers are still without power as of Monday morning, according to PowerOutage.us.

  • The devastation from Hurricane Fiona was expected to compound the already strained recovery efforts from past disasters. Many homes destroyed by Maria and the island's power grid were still being rebuilt when Fiona hit, Axios' Marina E. Franco writes.
  • At least 25 deaths in Puerto Rico may be linked to Hurricane Fiona, CNN reported.

The big picture: "In the wake of Hurricane Fiona, I'm announcing a $60 million investment to shore up levees and flood walls, and create a new flood warning system to help residents better prepare for future storms," Biden tweeted Monday afternoon.

  • The new funding will come from the bipartisan infrastructure law, per a White House pool report.
  • Politico first reported news of the funding.
  • President Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited Puerto Rico on Monday afternoon, where they met with community leaders and families affected by Fiona.
  • In the municipality of Ponce, 14% of customers have not yet had their power restored, according to an update issued by Luma Energy, the island's grid operator, on Sunday night.

What they're saying: "I said we'd be with the people of Puerto Rico for as long as it took. I meant it," Biden added in his tweet.

  • "I'm heading to Puerto Rico because they haven’t been taken very good care of," Biden told reporters as he prepared to depart the White House Monday morning, per a White House pool report.
  • "They've been trying like hell to catch up from the last hurricane. I want to see the state of affairs today and make sure we push everything we can," he added.
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