SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — It will take up to an estimated $50 billion to help rebuild Puerto Rico, according to the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Brock Long said Friday that his agency aims to make the island’s roads, homes, bridges and electrical grid as strong as possible, but noted officials are running out of time because the next hurricane season starts June 1.
Long said his agency also is coordinating a June 14 planning and training exercise with Puerto Rico’s government in which life-saving supplies will be delivered to the island’s 78 municipalities to ensure better response times for any upcoming storms.
More than 50,000 power customers remain in the dark after the Category 4 storm hit on Sept. 20. When it arrived that morning, it was largely unheralded and never projected to hit the continental United States, which was already suffering hurricane fatigue. But the storm tore into Puerto Rico with sustained winds of 155 miles an hour and then began a slow 12-hour crawl across the countryside, with the center of the storm enveloping the entire island.
The storm knocked out power to the entire island, at least 64 people died, and more than 135,000 people reportedly left Puerto Rico for the U.S. mainland. It is considered the most logistically challenging natural disaster in modern U.S. history.
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