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Damage caused by Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico. EPA

House Passes $36.5 Billion Relief Package After Hurricane and Wildfire Disasters

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $36.5 billion package for hurricane and wildfire relief funding, which included emergency food assistance for low-income Puerto Rico residents.

This aid comes on top of the $15.3 billion relief measure approved by Congress in September following Hurricane Harvey. The bill advances to the Senate, which will resume session next week, before heading to the desk of President Trump, who early Thursday suggested he may withdraw federal relief workers from Puerto Rico.


As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

"More than three weeks after Hurricane Maria raked the island, some 85% of the people remain without power, with nearly half of its 3.4 million residents lacking running water.

Food and basic supplies remain scarce in the mountainous interior, waterborne diseases pose a growing threat, and many hospitals are in dire circumstances. Deaths attributed to the storm stand at 45, but the number is expected to rise.

The Environmental Protection Agency this week advised against "tampering with sealed or locked wells or drinking from these wells" after reports of Puerto Rico residents trying to get water from wells at "Superfund" hazardous-waste sites.

In a series of tweets early Thursday, Trump implied that Puerto Rico was to blame for its problems, and suggested he would not endorse the type of years-long, multibillion-dollar federal recovery effort that typically follows a storm of such magnitude, or another large-scale disaster, striking a U.S. locale."

For a deeper dive:

Disaster Package: New York Times, Reuters, USA Today, LA Times, PBS Newshour, Houston Chronicle, CNN, Politico. Trump: Washington Post, New York Times, NBC News, CNN, USA Today. Commentary: Washington Post, Jessica Trisko Darden op-ed, New York Times, Paul Krugman column, Washington Post, Jennifer Sciubba & Jeremy Youde op-ed

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