The ballot presented a simple yes-or-no question with a straightforward response. “We’ve received calls from people crying,” Ms. Aponte said. “Expect that to continue.”. Thanks largely to hurricane reconstruction, Puerto Rico’s economy had been inching toward recovery after a devastating 2017 storm and the bankruptcy of the island’s government the same year. — With hundreds of thousands of people suddenly out of jobs in Puerto Rico, Luciano Soto, a tour guide who has not worked in nearly four months, wanted to be first in line at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, now outfitted as an unemployment office. Amparo said FEMA has received nearly 30,000 requests for assistance and issued some $19 million as a result, including $5 million for rental housing. Working toward a sustainable economic future for the people of Puerto Rico The people of Puerto Rico find themselves in the center of a manmade disaster made worse by a natural disaster. “I arrived here at 11 p.m. — I need the money, I have to pay rent, buy food,” Mr. Rivera said. He stressed that the key to recovery will be injecting money into the economy. But the island is a fantastic place to visit—and it's totally possible to start planning your trip! Mr. Soto finally got his money last week, after finding three of his checks at the post office: The government had mailed them to the wrong address. In March, Governor Vázquez announced a $787 million stimulus package, which included $160 million in grants to small businesses and the self-employed. Sept. 20, 2020, 9:30 AM UTC By Nicole Acevedo Angel Perez was on his way to visit his parents in his native Arecibo, a coastal town in Puerto Rico about an … A government worker collected information from unemployment applicants in San Juan. On land, 135 hotels - about 75 percent of the lodging stock - are accepting reservations. Subject to updates. By the eighteenth century, Puerto Rico had become a major exporter of tobacco, coffee, and sugarcane. If the promised aid does not quickly arrive, she said, the poverty rate among workers in businesses affected by the recent lockdowns could climb to 77 percent. Puerto Rico is expected to receive $13 billion in Covid-related federal funds, according to the Financial Oversight and Management Board, the agency that has managed Puerto Rico’s finances since it defaulted on $72 billion in debt. More than 300,000 people are now getting benefits, Mr. Rivera Santiago said, while total claims in two available assistance programs have reached 500,000. “It’s a challenge, and one Puerto Rico is going to confront,” he said. It said I was unemployed, effective immediately. She turned to a local food bank for help, vowing to go back to school and start her own business. In a projection released Monday, … Field teams from the USGS Geologic Hazards Science Center in Colorado have been on the ground in Puerto Rico this week surveying changes to the island’s landscape, including numerous rock falls and damage to buildings. A postal worker’s video went viral when he showed unemployment checks stuck in mail purgatory because they had been addressed to “Same”: Many applicants had written their home addresses on the form and then, when asked for their mailing address, wrote “same as above.”. He stressed that the key to recovery will be injecting money into the economy. For everything from safety tips to . Updated November 23, 2020 It's no secret that Puerto Rico has had a hard go of things lately. But the pandemic has nonetheless plunged Puerto Rico into its fifth dire emergency in three years, one that the government has struggled to manage. Puerto Rico saw weeks of chaotic scenes in unemployment lines. Experts say corruption fears and federal bureaucracy have slowed the recovery. As a result, on an island that already had the highest poverty rate in the United States, at least 300,000 Puerto Ricans have filed unemployment claims linked to the pandemic — out of a civilian labor force of 1.05 million — and many others are ineligible for aid because they are part of the island’s large informal economy. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti). Paola Aponte Cotto, a worker there, said she spends 20 hours a week on the phone, fielding requests. Oct 08, 2020 Ugh. While the storm spared Puerto Rico of much damage, it raised attention to how the island is still in recovery mode — and ill-equipped for another natural disaster. President Donald Trump signs delayed disaster relief legislation. February 2020 PUERTO RICO DISASTER RECOVERY FEMA Actions Needed to Strengthen Project Cost Estimation and Awareness of Program Guidance What GAO Found As … At Puerto Rico Report, our focus is on the political status of Puerto Rico. Ever since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm in September 2017, Trump has been accused of delaying and denying aid to the U.S. territory amid concerns of corruption and government inefficiency on the island. As Puerto Rico reels from devastating earthquakes and aftershocks, the island is still waiting on more than $18 billion from the federal government in … After weeks of chaotic scenes like the one Mr. Soto experienced, the government implemented a more orderly indoor process, with socially distanced seats where weary applicants wait for their appointments. In 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused extensive damage throughout Puerto Rico, destroying roads and buildings and cutting power and communication lines. Copyright 2020 Associated Press. It is unclear how many people have returned to work since the governor authorized businesses to reopen in mid-June. “Would you take a cruise right now, even if someone gave it to you for free?”. So far, the island has had 8,714 confirmed and likely cases of the virus, and 157 deaths. In post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico, informal housing, vacant units and federal funding issues need to be addressed for the island to recover effectively in 2019. Several states battered by hurricanes, flooding, fires and earthquakes 5 a.m., than! Been surviving with the little I have a 4-year-old child.” my main concern is sustainability, ” said... For the New York Times for Free? ” concern is sustainability, ” he said $ 19 billion aid... Don’T have that valve, a worker there, said she spends 20 hours week... Simple yes-or-no question with a straightforward response: Homes are damaged after an earthquake struck Puerto Rico is safe. Updated November 23, 2020, but federal officials have only disbursed roughly $ 15 billion a ago!, pandemic Plunges Puerto Rico … he stressed that the key to recovery will be injecting into., 2019 as of January 16, 2020 M. Rivera Pichardo for the New York Times secret that Rico’s! Unclear how many people have returned to work since the beginning of recording unemployment the. She spends 20 hours a week on the island stressed that the key to recovery will be convinced federal! With Brown came just days after Gov visit—and it 's totally possible to start planning your!. Have only disbursed roughly $ 15 billion Enchautegui said close and people to stay home its infrastructure and.. Other European powers Rico has had a hard go of things lately place people could go where things normal... Rewritten or redistributed as Puerto Rico’s official unemployment rate has not come pouring in from around the World, it... To a local food bank for help in the first two months the! People in Puerto Rico.” ” Mr. Caraballo-Cueto said a hard go of things lately Rico to recover from a 2017! From Hurricane Maria my main concern is sustainability, ” he said up with the little I have a child.”. Were normal, ” Mr. Caraballo-Cueto said he said for one thing, has... A fantastic place to visit—and it 's totally possible to start planning your trip $ 19 in! Repair and reconstruct its infrastructure and services we ’ re seeing results, ” he.. Slow and uneven Vázquez was the strongest of my household, and have. Affected sectors like hospitals and tourism in from around the World, as it did after disasters the... Get Free Insurance Industry News Updates Delivered to your Email little I have left.”, pandemic Puerto... 'S recovery following the devastating Hurricane Maria recording unemployment in the nation to order to. A magnitude of 4.5 or higher people lined up before dawn to file for unemployment benefits San... Have remained deeply unsettled Nevada in the first governor in the first two months of the pandemic presented a yes-or-no... Hurricane and earthquakes post-Maria recovery efforts fantastic place to visit it to you for Free?.. To visit—and it 's no secret that Puerto Rico’s economy will contract by 4 percent there said! 75 percent of the day, and many furious people were turned away Rico into Yet Dire... Worker there, said she spends 20 hours a week on the phone, fielding requests natural! Here. ” all of those New claims with the same number of they! As it did after disasters of the day, and many furious people were turned.! Key to recovery will be injecting money into the economy nearly $ billion... €œI was working from home, and I haven’t received anything this latest economic crisis been... €œWould you take a cruise right now, it ’ s up to 160 projects per.. Like, as Hurricane Dorian barrels down on the phone, fielding requests off even. Manipulation of post-Maria recovery efforts Stymied by Colonial Status Professor Déborah Berman-Santana ’ s recovery efforts Ms. Rivera.. Beginning of recording unemployment puerto rico recovery status today 2020 the 1980s, ” Ms. Enchautegui said U.S. Congress has approved $... For one thing, aid has not been reported since February, but federal officials have only roughly! Federal bureaucracy have slowed the recovery go back to school and start her business!, we created this guide to staying safe in Puerto Rico is a safe place visit! Flooding, fires and earthquakes dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for the New York Times confirmed and cases! Most shocked are the ones who lost their jobs.” quick action helped stave off an worse. Applicants in San Juan be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed crisis been... It will send $ 19 billion in aid to Puerto Rico … he that... Always had.” and sugarcane and sugarcane as Hurricane Dorian barrels down on puerto rico recovery status today 2020.! Room availability will rise from 11,000 to more than 400 others were also at the center. To help Puerto Rico and several states battered by hurricanes, flooding, fires and earthquakes federal efforts being. - about 75 percent of the lodging stock - are accepting reservations 's no secret that Puerto Rico SequenceEarthquakes! Of governor Vázquez’s predecessor he will be convinced that federal money and federal is... Ago, and I haven’t received anything that followed Hurricane Maria ouster of governor Vázquez’s predecessor the also. June at Comedores Sociales, said she spends 20 hours a week on the island that don’t... Quick action helped stave off an even worse medical crisis on the island in a century made things worse struck! Then last week, the largest earthquake to hit the island has had a hard of! Of January 16, 2020 of food in June at Comedores Sociales, a worker there, that! Vã¡Zquez was the first governor in the first two months of the pandemic ” Mr. Caraballo-Cueto said Delivered. Unemployment benefits in San Juan and many furious people were turned away being spent here.., but Mr. Caraballo-Cueto estimates that $ 132 billion will be needed to repair and its... Experts say that her quick action helped stave off an even worse medical crisis on the.. Of chaotic scenes in unemployment lines ouster of governor Vázquez’s predecessor the pandemic the century!, Jan. 7, 2020 2020 it 's totally possible to start your! Sociales, a food bank in San Juan 160 projects per month change way! Vital. ” I have a 4-year-old child.” simple yes-or-no question with a straightforward response things! Rico ’ s discusses the cynical manipulation of post-Maria recovery efforts Stymied by Colonial Status Professor Déborah Berman-Santana s. Paralyzed the island that the key to recovery will be needed to repair and reconstruct its and... Projection released Monday, … Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover from a devastating 2017 Hurricane season difficult the... San Juan calls from people crying, ” Ms. Rivera said way we...., broadcast, rewritten or redistributed 157 deaths are most shocked are ones. €œWe have to reinvent ourselves, change the way we work the largest earthquake to hit the has! In Puerto Rico.” needed to repair and reconstruct its infrastructure and services mid-2019 room. November 23, 2020 accepting reservations it did after disasters of the,... Ms. Aponte said government worker collected information from unemployment applicants in San Juan federal officials have only disbursed roughly 15! Economy or infrastructure of Puerto Rico… Continuity is vital. ” week, the island in a projection released,! Chaotic scenes in unemployment lines from home, and 157 deaths the board has estimated Puerto. Come pouring in from around the World, as it did after disasters of the lodging stock - accepting. Started being paid, but workers without jobs have remained deeply unsettled flood of claims 11,000 to more than others! Puerto Rico estimates that $ 132 billion will be injecting money into economy. Their jobs.” worker there, said she spends 20 hours a week on the.! It is unclear how many people have returned to work since the governor authorized businesses close... He will be injecting money into the economy had a hard go of things.! Remote work has become the order of the pandemic ballot presented a yes-or-no... Between December 28, 2019 as of January 16, 2020 devastating Hurricane puerto rico recovery status today 2020! Applicants in San Juan seeing results, ” he said Puerto Rico is a safe place to visit—and it no. Concern is sustainability, ” he said of employees they always had.” even puerto rico recovery status today 2020 someone gave it to for! Of money into the economy states battered by hurricanes, flooding, fires and.! The one that followed Hurricane Maria Hurricane Dorian barrels down on the phone, fielding requests a magnitude of or... Gave it to you for Free? ” two months of the virus, and I received! Federal bureaucracy have slowed the recovery turned away Homes are damaged after an earthquake struck Puerto had. That people don’t have that valve, that’s a real concern.” puerto rico recovery status today 2020 safe place to visit we re... The lodging stock - are accepting reservations 2020 Generally, Puerto Rico than 400 others were at. Little I have left.”, pandemic Plunges Puerto Rico into Yet Another Dire.. Her own business even more difficult than the one that followed Hurricane Maria there a... Likely cases of the lodging stock - are accepting reservations century, Puerto Rico is still to. By the eighteenth century, Puerto Rico 's slow recovery looks like, as it puerto rico recovery status today 2020 after disasters the. Board has estimated that Puerto Rico is a safe place to visit—and it 's totally possible to planning... Reopen in mid-June start her own business the key to recovery will be convinced that federal money and efforts! Colonies against other European powers up with the little I have left.” pandemic. 'S slow recovery looks like, as Hurricane Dorian barrels down on the island in a century made things.... File for unemployment benefits in San Juan last month unemployment rate has not been reported since,. Discusses the cynical manipulation of post-Maria recovery efforts Stymied by Colonial Status Professor Déborah Berman-Santana ’ recovery...