WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) released the following statement on the current plight of Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of the recent hurricanes that overwhelmed the people and the infrastructure of the island.
“The pictures coming from Puerto Rico are heart-breaking. The devastation that has hit the island deserves the same commitment and support that would go to any other location in the United States. Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million residents are American citizens and they should be treated the same as residents of Florida, Texas and Louisiana.
“The White House should send a supplemental request immediately to Congress for a package of supplemental aid for Hurricane Harvey and Irma that includes aid for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and relief for Western states affected by forest fires. Puerto Rico is facing major and immediate life-threatening challenges in terms of power, potable water, food, and communications. The U.S. Virgin Islands also remains in desperate need.”
Marylanders can help by reaching out to an organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (NVOAD) at www.nvoad.org.
For Hurricane Maria survivors, for those in declared areas and who are able to do so, registering online, at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the recent hurricanes.
The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a free public reunification tool that allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to search for loved ones, or for individuals to indicate that they are safe. The site is always available, open to the public, and available in English and Spanish. There are a number of ways to use this service:
Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website.
- Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876. Messages exist in both Spanish and English.
- To speak with someone at the American Red Cross concerning a missing friend or relative who has a serious, pre-existing health or mental health condition, please contact 1-800 Red Cross (1-800-733-2767).
- The American Red Cross Emergency App features an “I’m Safe” button that allows users to post a message to their social accounts, letting friends and family know they are out of harm’s way. The app can be downloaded for free in app stores by searching for “American Red Cross” or by texting ‘GETEMERGENCY’ to 90999.
FEMA is raising awareness that Hurricane Maria disaster survivors, and their friends and family, should be alert for false rumors, scams, identity theft, and fraud. FEMA has a dedicated website to address some of the most common themes. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Visit FEMA’s Hurricane Rumor Control page to get the most accurate information from trusted sources.