Gov. Ricardo Rosselló confirmed that Puerto Rico will send three planes to the British Virgin Islands to deliver essential supplies after the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.
Over the past few days, the recovery effort has not been limited to the 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico, as the government has also helped in the process of repatriation and evacuation of 1,897 people — mostly American citizens — from St. Thomas and St. Martin.
The initiative came after Rosselló spoke with British magnate Richard Branson —founder of Virgin Group — who is helping in the BVI’s recovery. Branson came to Puerto Rico to seek help since there is no electric service or Internet connection in the BVI, which Hurricane Irma virtually wiped off the map.
For the movement of supplies, the government will work with Seaborne — an airline that has been offering humanitarian aid to the sister islands for several days — and Caribbean Flyers planes.
The approximately 8,000 pounds of supplies were largely donated by the private sector, including companies such as the Econo supermarket chain, La Fortaleza said.
As this media outlet reported exclusively, earlier this week Branson thanked Rosselló for his collaboration, as well as the island’s government.
On Monday, Branson said the governor “has been really helpful. I’ve spoken to him two or three times today. If we need the National Guard from here to help over there, he’s willing to supply them. If we need food, he’s willing to supply it. It’s been fantastic,” he said.
He also added, “Puerto Rico has been fantastic. You’ve got your own problems, but your governor has just been… anytime I ring him, straightaway he answers the phone and puts me on to people who are trying to help. I’m really grateful and appreciative of that.”
Rosselló to lobby in DC for Caribbean relief efforts
In related news, Rosselló will travel to Washington, DC today to discuss Hurricane Irma relief efforts, as well as the work being done by the Frente por Puerto Rico coalition.
During the news conference, for which Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González will be present, Rosselló will offer details on how Puerto Rico has been collaborating with President Donald Trump’s administration to repatriate U.S, citizens stranded in the Caribbean islands affected by Hurricane Irma.
The U.S. Department of State calculates that, at the time Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean, more than 6,000 U.S. citizens were in the affected region. More than 2,000 of these citizens have been safely evacuated by federal and Puerto Rican authorities.
The Puerto Rican government is currently running an emergency relief center out of Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan and has secured accommodations for the 4,000 evacuees expected to arrive on the island in the coming days.
Rosselló will also discuss the work being done by a coalition of Puerto Rican leaders that have been convened to lobby Congress on healthcare, tax reform and economic development.