President Trump's Weekly Address
President Donald J. Trump is actively engaged in monitoring the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, and the full weight of the United States government is engaged to ensure that food, water, healthcare, and other lifesaving resources are making it to the people in need. At the request of the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, the President authorized Acting Secretary Duke to waive the Jones Act to ensure that ample resources are making it to the island, and we will continue to focus on the challenge of distributing those resources. The island setting presents logistical hurdles that do not exist on the mainland where trucks from around the country can converge on disaster areas. Ten thousand federal government relief workers are there, including 7,200 troops that are now on the island and working tirelessly to get people what they need. Lifesaving resources to hospitals have been prioritized, and 57 of the island's 69 hospitals are now operational. The Army Corps of Engineers is spearheading a massive mobilization to restore power, and this began with providing the diesel fuel necessary for sustainable emergency power generation. They're also working to restore long-term power generation and distribution around the island. There's a long way to go, but we will not rest until everyone is safe and secure. Our message to the incredible people of Puerto Rico is this: The President is behind you. We all are -- the entire country. Your unbreakable spirit is an inspiration to us all. We are praying for you, we are working for you, and we will not let you down.
FEMA Update Yesterday, FEMA announced that all municipalities in Puerto Rico have been reached by search and rescue thanks to the joint efforts of multiple federal agencies. President Trump and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke received a comprehensive briefing from FEMA on Thursday morning on disaster relief. Points of this briefing included:
- FEMA and its federal partners continue 24-hour operations to reach inaccessible areas of Puerto Rico to reach survivors, provide fuel to hospitals, and re-open.
- The travel distance to the Islands as well as substantial impacts to air and sea ports, has presented complex challenges requiring a phased approach to the delivery of personnel, resources, equipment to move the resources, and lodging for responders.
- There are thousands of federal staff, including more than 600 FEMA personnel, on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands engaged in response and recovery operations from Hurricanes Maria and Irma. Hundreds of additional federal personnel are supporting response and recovery operations through mainland coordination centers and logistics facilities.
Acting Secretary of DHS Elaine Duke and Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert Provide Hurricane Update
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke is on the ground in Puerto Rico today. She and Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert provided an update on the ongoing hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands yesterday. Our response is, and has been from day one, people first. The focus is on immediate relief and gaining access to all areas of the island. 4 ports and 8 airports are now open, which allows for supplies to get on the island.
Watch the briefing