Delay in Disaster Funds for Puerto Rico is Deadly Serious

From the WashPost: Hit by devastating earthquakes, Puerto Rico still waiting on billions for hurricane relief.  Democratic lawmakers raise new concerns about the Trump administration’s use of disaster funds.

According to this CNN article, the Dept of HHS has declared a Public Health Emergency in Puerto Rico. PR also got a Presidential Emergency Declaration.

Recovery in PR Mired in Politics and Mud

From the WashPost: ‘Enough with the insults’: Puerto Rico’s governor says Trump won’t meet about Hurricane Maria recovery 

In the brutal months after Hurricane Maria, which killed an estimated 2,975 people in Puerto Rico, the island’s Democratic governor abstained from joining the local chorus lashing President Trump over a botched federal response. But that fragile alliance has disintegrated as Trump increasingly insists that aid to the island be cut off, a demand he reiterated to Senate Republicans on Tuesday.

In his strongest rebuke yet of the president, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló late on Tuesday called Trump’s comments “below the dignity of a sitting President” and “irresponsible, regrettable and, above all, unjustified,” while suggesting Trump has dodged meeting him.

Editorial in WashPost on March 27: The Trump administration has turned bigotry into policy in Puerto Rico

From Wash Post on March 26: HUD inspector general’s office says it’ll look into whether White House interfered with Puerto Rico disaster aid

Puerto Rico Gov Hits Back After Trump Whines About Hurricane Relief Funds

Supply Chain Resilience and the 2017 Hurricane Season

CNA has prepared a major report (164 pp) on the topic of Supply Chain Resilience and the 2017 Hurricane Season. It is a collection of case studies about Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Marie and their impact on supply chain resilience.  It was released in Sept. 2018 and more work on this topic is underway presently at the National Academy of Sciences.

Thanks to Delilah Barton, one of the authors, for the citation and link.


Comparison of Federal Responses to Three 2017 Hurricanes

Quantifying inequities in US federal response to hurricane disaster in Texas and Florida compared with Puerto Rico. ( 6 pp.)

Our results show that the federal government responded on a larger scale and much more quickly across measures of federal money and staffing to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida, compared with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. 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. Assuming that disaster responses should be at least commensurate to the degree of storm severity and need of the population, the insufficient response received by Puerto Rico raises concern for growth in health disparities and increases in adverse health outcomes

FEMA is Underperforming re Puerto Rico Recovery

From Politico:  FEMA’s staffing lags well behind its post-Puerto Rico goals.The disaster agency promised to hire more people and improve training after 2017. It failed to meet its targets for both.

But 15 months after Hurricane Maria crashed into Puerto Rico, killing 2,975 people, and almost six months after FEMA released its after-action assessment, the agency is lagging significantly behind its targets in training and recruiting, according to a POLITICO review.

Pushback from GWU re PR Death Statistics

Dr. Lynn Goldman, Dean of the GWU School of Public Health, wrote the following in the Wash Post today: We calculated the deaths from Hurricane Maria. Politics played no role.Her concluding paragraph:

The federal government and charities have provided tremendous resources to Puerto Rico, and we are proud of the hard work of the local citizens and leaders, federal responders and volunteers who risked their own lives to pitch in and help. What was lacking was adequate planning and preparedness for such a horrific storm. No one administration or political party is responsible for why we still don’t prioritize preparedness even though we are increasingly threatened by large hurricanes. By identifying the preventable causes of these deaths, we can save lives the next time a fierce storm hits. And this is especially important as Hurricane Florence grinds up the Carolina coast, leaving a deadly trail in its wake.