Fitzpatrick to Spend Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico Assisting Recovery Efforts

Congressman will meet with FEMA personnel, local residents

November 21, 2017

LANGHORNE, PA – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) announced Tuesday that he will travel to Puerto Rico this week to inspect hurricane recovery efforts and meet directly with affected residents, as well as with government and humanitarian professionals on the island. Earlier this year, the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm that destroyed nearly 80-percent of Puerto Rico’s agricultural industry, left millions without power for extended periods and was responsible for dozens of deaths.

“The people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are American citizens and this Congress and the Administration must commit to supporting them following the devastation of Hurricane Maria; each deserve the full attention of the federal government and the attention of its representatives,” said Fitzpatrick before his departure. “I am eager to meet with residents, first responders and government officials to get a full picture of the situation on the ground. It is my hope that this mission will provide clarity to help direct the actions of Congress, and offer lessons for responses to future natural disasters.”

Fitzpatrick, a member of the Homeland Security Committee which has Congressional oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will meet with FEMA officials to review relief efforts, and will also meet with Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, Puerto Rico’s at-large representative to the House of Representatives, to discuss the federal response. On Thanksgiving Day, Fitzpatrick will meet with Puerto Rican residents and will also deliver medical supplies to the town of Orocovis - one the most devastated on the island; running water is still only available a few hours a day and there is no electricity. 

“We’d like to thank Representative Fitzpatrick for making the trip to Puerto Rico,” said Major Philip Ferreira, Director of Operations, The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia. “The visit will be crucial to understanding the depth and magnitude of recovery following Hurricane Maria. Dozens of our local staff and volunteers have served in the relief efforts there over the last two months. The Salvation Army has provided food, water, comfort and care to more than 1.2 million individuals in Puerto Rico since the hurricane made landfall. Community generosity and government partnerships will be key in long-term relief efforts.”

Fitzpatrick joined Congress earlier this fall in passing hurricane recovery funding and tax relief measures for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.