Governor Cuomo Making Available More Than 34,000 Bottles of Water, 9,600 Ready to Eat Meals, 3,000 Canned Goods, 500 Flashlights, 1,400 Cots, 1,400 Pillows, 1,400 Blankets and 10 Generators
Governor Cuomo Traveling on Donated JetBlue Aircraft to Bring Supplies on First Flight to Depart for San Juan Since Hurricane Maria
NYPA Engineers, Translators, Supervisors and DEC Drones and Drone Pilots Sent to Assist with Reconstruction of Power Grid
60 New York National Guard, Four Black Hawk Helicopters and 50 State Police on Standby
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and a delegation of administration officials departed this morning for Puerto Rico to deliver emergency supplies, help the community repair its devastated power structure, and assist in relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The trip follows Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s official governor to governor request through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact for mutual aid. In response to the request, Governor Cuomo immediately made available more than 34,000 bottles of water, 9,600 ready to eat meals, 3,000 canned goods, 500 flashlights, 1,400 cots, 1,400 blankets, 1,400 pillows and 10 10kw generators. Additionally, Governor Cuomo has announced that 60 members of the New York Army National Guard, four Black Hawk helicopters and 50 State Police are on standby. This flight, on aircraft donated by JetBlue, is the first flight to depart for San Juan since Hurricane Maria.
“Puerto Rico is part of the New York family, and we stand with our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters as they begin to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Maria,” Governor Cuomo said. “We have assembled top emergency response experts to support Puerto Rico and help repair its devastated power structure, and we are providing supplies and any additional assistance we can to support the island as they recover from this unprecedented natural disaster.”
Governor Ricardo Rosselló said, “In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, I have made an official Governor to Governor request that Governor Cuomo and the State of New York provide essential goods, services, and expertise to help us assess the devastation and develop a plan for recovery. Puerto Rico has endured an horrific ordeal and we are lucky to have a friend like Governor Cuomo and New York State who we share a close bond and deep history with. I want to thank the Governor for accepting my invitation to travel to Puerto Rico, and the people of New York for always standing by our side in difficult times and we appreciate the support as we begin the rebuilding process.”
Robin Hayes, president and CEO, JetBlue, said, “We are honored to support this relief flight, the first of many to come, as the people of Puerto Rico begin to recover from this terrible event. Our hearts go out to all those impacted. We thank Gov. Cuomo for his leadership in the recovery efforts, and the National Guard for their on-the-ground support of the people of Puerto Rico. As the largest airline in Puerto Rico, we are in a unique position to work with them to support our crewmembers, customers and communities across the island.”
“We commend Governor Cuomo’s leadership to quickly organize resources and personnel to help Puerto Rico rebuild,” said Francis McGorry, President, Tri-State Metro Operating Unit, Coca-Cola Refreshments. “Coca-Cola always stands ready to help when people are in need. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the devastation from Hurricane Maria.”
Rudy Fuertes, President of the National Supermarket Association said, “The National Supermarket Association commends Governor Cuomo for his leadership in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The Governor has stepped up to offer resources and assistance that the Puerto Rico’s residents so desperately need. It is only right that New Yorkers stand with our neighbor island during this difficult time, and the national supermarket association is proud to support the people of Puerto Rico as well as the courageous New Yorkers who are traveling to the island today. On behalf of all New Yorkers, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Puerto Rico.”
Prior to departing, Governor Cuomo ordered assets from the New York State stockpiles to be ready for deployment and gathered a coalition of organizations to provide a number of assets and essential resources and at the request of Governor Rosselló, including:
- More than 34,000 bottles of water donated by The Coca-Cola Company;
- 9,600 ready to eat meals;
- 3,000 canned goods donated by the National Supermarket Association;
- 1,400 cots;
- 1,400 blankets;
- 1,400 pillows;
- 500 flashlights; and
- 10 10kW generators.
The New York Power Authority is also sending a crew of 10 personnel, including translators, supervisors and engineers along with drones and two drone pilots from the Department of Environmental Conservation to assist with the assessment and reconstruction of Puerto Rico’s power grid.
New York State shares many deep ties with Puerto Rico. Many New York-based companies employ thousands in Puerto Rico at many locations across the island,
and 1.2 million New Yorkers, or 5.7 percent of the population, are of Puerto Rican ethnicity. This means that more Puerto Ricans live in New York than anywhere else outside the island. According to estimates in the 2016 American Community Survey, there are 280,904 residents in the State of New York who claimed Puerto Rico as their place of birth.
This trip is not this first time that Governor Cuomo’s has visited Puerto Rico either. In 1998, as Secretary for Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton, then-Secretary Cuomo traveled to the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges to assess damage and speed up the delivery of federal assistance. In 2015, Governor Cuomo traveled to Puerto Rico twice as part of solidarity missions to assist the island with its ongoing healthcare crisis and economic challenges.
Hurricane Maria was the strongest storm to hit the U.S. territory since 1928 and one of the strongest to ever make landfall in the U.S. Maria hit the U.S. territory September 20 as a Category 4 storm with winds reaching 155 miles per hour, knocking out electricity across the entire island, rendering an estimated 3.4 million people without power. Puerto Rican Officials are estimating several months until energy grid will be repaired. At least one person is dead in Puerto Rico and Maria is being blamed for at least 18 deaths so far in the Caribbean. This situation is also poised threaten the Islands’ economically critical winter tourism season as many of the locations sustaining damage include hotels, airports and other key infrastructure.