SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Rice, beans, turkey, stuffing and sweet plantains are the usual, traditional Thanksgiving Day fare in Puerto Rico. But this year, coming just two months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the island, Thanksgiving has more than its usual meaning for most Puerto Ricans.
FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Byrne noted that “Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and be thankful for all that we have accomplished. I’m humbled by the capacity and commitment to service of the team working with the people of Puerto Rico. Tomorrow we will give thanks, and then we’ll roll up our sleeves and get back to work.”
The residents of Puerto Rico have shown great compassion and strength, working together as neighbors, friends and community, in this time of hurricane recovery and reconstruction. Their attitude and perseverance continues to inspire staff from FEMA, federal partners, non-governmental agencies, the private sector and support personnel who continue to work around the clock to move recovery forward. FEMA’s commitment to help island residents recover from back-to-back hurricanes has already broken many existing records in U.S. disaster relief history. Yet, we all know, this mission is only getting started.
The Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, expressed that “on behalf of the people of Puerto Rico, I would like to thank the responders that have been diligently working here since the passage of Hurricane Maria through the Island. We received them with open arms and we will continue showing them our hospitality through the recovery process.”
It will be many months – in some cases years – before communities in Puerto Rico fully recover. Every day more services and resources are becoming available – food, water, generators, tarps and more – that will help transform the lives of Puerto Rico’s hurricane survivors. But this week, we will all give thanks for what we have, where we are headed and the hope for tomorrow.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available (press 2 for Spanish).TTY: 800-462- 7585.
The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters, which can cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
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