Deploys NYPA Personnel to Both Regions to Monitor Hurricane Dorian and Help with Emergency Response
Directs 100 State Police Troopers, Specialized Response Teams with Equipment to Be On Standby to Assist
Cuomo: "After President Trump and the federal administration shamefully treated the people of Puerto Rico like second class citizens following Hurricanes Maria and Irma, New York State stepped up to help - and we're doing it again now."
As Puerto Rico continues to recover from the damage of Hurricanes Maria and Irma, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the deployment of New York State personnel and resources to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as Hurricane Dorian is expected to impact the region. The Governor directed the New York Power Authority to send a team of personnel to monitor the situation from the two locations and work with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and U.S. Virgin Islands Water & Power Authority on emergency response. Additional NYPA personnel are ready to be deployed as needed. The Governor also directed New York State Police to have 100 troopers on standby to be deployed to the islands, and the Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services is prepared to assist with command and control logistics, communication, planning and other emergency support functions on the ground.
"After President Trump and the federal administrationshamefully treated the people of Puerto Rico like second class citizens following Hurricanes Maria and Irma, New York State stepped up to help - and we're doing it again now," Governor Cuomo said. "The islands are still building back after the devastation of past storms, making them even more vulnerable to the impending hurricane. That's why I am deploying State personnel and resources to monitor the situation and assist with emergency response. The family of New York stands with the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and as always we will do everything in our power to assist during difficult times."
Since Hurricane Maria's landfall in September 2017, Governor Cuomo has traveled to Puerto Rico five times and has continuously directed critical resources to communities in need. In the immediate aftermath, New York established the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort, ultimately distributing at least 4,400 pallets of supplies collected from 13 donation sites across the state. New York State also deployed more than 1,000 personnel, including hundreds of utility workers and power experts to help with power restoration and grid stabilization.
Under the Governor's leadership, New York State has dedicated approximately $13 million to support the more than 11,000 displaced Hurricane Maria victims living in New York. Part of this funding is being directed to organizations who connect vulnerable Puerto Ricans to needed services such as employment, housing, benefits counseling and health care. Governor Cuomo has also committed up to $11 million dollars in housing and workforce funding for displaced Puerto Ricans: a $1 million program to provide robust case management services to displaced Puerto Ricans, and up to $10 million in job training and placement.
NYPA is presently offering continued consultation on a wide-range of issues relating to the rebuilding of Puerto Rico's grid, focusing specifically on these areas: technical assistance and advocacy, reforming management and operations, and strengthening emergency preparedness. Between the months of November 2017 and April 2018, more than 450 New York State utility personnel, led by NYPA, went to Puerto Rico to help restore power. The New York State utility crews, under NYPA's leadership, consisted primarily of transmission and distribution experts, damage assessors and general support staff, who undertook repairs to transmission lines and other electric infrastructure work focusing its initial power restoration efforts in San Juan. They brought with them hundreds of bucket trucks, diggers, excavators and other specialized equipment to complete the necessary repairs to damaged transmission and distribution lines and worked 16-hour days, seven days-a-week to help restore power. The NYS utility workers then joined with utility workers from around the country—led by the Edison Electric Institute, the American Public Power Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association—to help restore power to other areas of the island.
Governor Cuomo and the New York Congressional Delegation continue to advocate for Puerto Rico to receive essential federal assistance. In 2017, Governor Cuomo along with members of the New York Congressional Delegation and with Puerto Rican elected officials issued a Build Back Better Assessment Report. The report identified specific sectors needing investments, including housing, power grid and resiliency, and agriculture, among others.
After the 2018 summer, Governor Cuomo announced the successful completion of the summer-long NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative. Throughout the summer, more than 650 SUNY and CUNY students, as well as skilled labor volunteers, traveled to island communities still recovering from Hurricanes Maria and Irma to provide assistance to those in need. Over the course of five deployments, volunteers logged in nearly 41,000 hours cleaning, restoring, and rebuilding homes. The goal to renovate 150 homes was far exceeded, with a total of 178 homes restored over 10 weeks. The Governor has continued deployments of SUNY and CUNY students to aid in the recovery efforts throughout summer 2019.
Under the direction of Governor Cuomo, SUNY's and CUNY's respective Board of Trustees passed resolutions in the fall of 2017 authorizing campuses to provide students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands impacted by hurricanes Maria and Irma with the ability to pay tuition at the in-state rate for the 2017-2018 academic year. Both systems renewed the granting of in-state tuition for the 2018-2019 academic year.
For more information about the recovery and relief efforts underway in Puerto Rico please visit the Governor's Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands webpage.