U.S. President Joe Biden surveyed damage Monday from Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico and pledged more than $60 million in aid to help the U.S. territory in the aftermath of last month’s storm.
“We’re investing in Puerto Rico’s roads, bridges, public transit, ports, airports, water safety and high-speed internet,” Biden said in the southern city of Ponce, hard hit by the hurricane.
He pledged that his administration was committed to rebuilding Puerto Rico and said he would make sure it got “every single dollar promised” after the storm.
“We are not leaving here as long as I’m president, until every single thing we can do is done,” Biden said.
The White House said the $60 million in new funding would come from last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law and would be used to bolster levees and flood walls as well as to create a flood warning system in the territory.
Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico on September 18 and knocked out power to the entire island.
Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said Monday that power had been restored to 93% of residents.
Parts of the hardest-hit areas in the western and southern parts of Puerto Rico were still struggling without power.
The territory has still not completely recovered from Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm that struck the island five years ago in September.
Biden said Puerto Rico must rebuild with future storms in mind.
“We know that the climate crisis and more extreme weather will continue to hit this island and hit the United States overall. And as we rebuild, we have to ensure that we rebuild it to last,” he said.
Before leaving the White House, Biden told reporters he was traveling to Puerto Rico because “they haven’t been taken very good care of,” an apparent reference to the Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria.
While in Puerto Rico, Biden, who is traveling with his wife, Jill, is meeting with families and community leaders working to rebuild after the storm.
Biden is due to travel Wednesday to the southeastern U.S. state of Florida — hit by Hurricane Ian last week.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.