Study: Disaster Funding Less ‘Generous’ for Puerto Rico Compared to Texas, Florida

Federal government aid to Puerto Rico after 2017's Hurricane Maria was less “generous” and slower than the aid given to Texas and Florida in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, CBS News reports, citing a newly released study. University of Michigan researchers concluded that Texas and Florida got about $100 million in funding nine days after Harvey and Irma hit, while Puerto Rico only received about $6 million in assistance in the same timeframe. The U.S. territory also reportedly received “less food, water, tarps” and helicopters than the two states, as well as fewer federal personnel. “The variation in the responses was not commensurate with storm severity and need after landfall in the case of Puerto Rico compared with Texas and Florida,” the researchers wrote, adding that the “geographic limitations” of Puerto Rico do not explain the “magnitude of this variation” in the responses. Carlos Mercader, executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, told CBS the study proved the Trump administration “dragged its feet” in responding to the disaster in Puerto Rico. A FEMA spokesperson told the network the agency was simply “understaffed and unprepared” to respond to Maria's destruction.