Press Statement

UnidosUS Urges Congress to Treat Puerto Rico Equitably as Hurricane Recovery Funding Falls Short

November 17, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, UnidosUS (formerly NCLR) expressed concern about disaster relief funding announced for Florida, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico following multiple devastating hurricanes this year. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, the disaster supplemental announced today falls short of providing the necessary resources and assets to rebuild and to keep Puerto Rico’s nearly 3.5 million American citizens safe and healthy now and into the future. Only $44 billion in total relief funds has been recommended for all devastated areas, far lower than the projected cost of damages caused by Hurricane Maria.

“All Americans should be treated equally no matter if they reside in Puerto Rico or on the mainland, and our relief funding should reflect that,” said Janet Murguía, UnidosUS President and CEO.

Nearly two months after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, nearly three out of every five Puerto Ricans still have no power and about one in five have no potable water. All in all, Hurricane Maria could cost Puerto Rico up to $95 billion in damage. While another disaster supplemental focusing on Puerto Rico is said to be coming soon, the residents of Texas, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands do not have to wait to begin the long process of rebuilding.

“The $44 billion in relief funds doesn’t even cover half of the estimated damages in Puerto Rico. It’s inadequate and unacceptable. For Puerto Rico to fully recover, Congress must take action to provide the relief the island needs and deserves now. With prompt and sustained federal assistance along with the island’s unbreakable will, Puerto Rico will overcome this crisis,” Murguía added.

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For almost 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.