“We need something tangible, a bill that actually answers to our need right now,” Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CNN on Monday. “Otherwise, there will be … a massive exodus to the (mainland) United States.”
The governor, joined by several others, emphasized that the small island is a U.S. territory and that its residents are American citizens.
“We need to prevent a humanitarian crisis occurring in America,” he said.
Hillary Clinton urged the U.S. Defense Department to send a Navy medical ship to Puerto Rico, and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for the rolling out of a relief package for the crippled island.
“The Trump administration must act immediately to make available additional Department of Defense resources for search-and-rescue operations, law enforcement and transportation needs,” Palosi said in a statement Monday. “Our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands deserve to know that their government will be there for them, without question or hesitation.”
Trump, who is reportedly planning to visit Puerto Rico, pledged federal help for the island and the US Virgin Islands. According to a White House official, a date for Trump’s visit has yet to be set due to infrastructure concerns on the island.
Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert, along with Brock Long, and administrator for FEMA, are slated to land on the island Monday, according to White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders.
So far, 4,000 members of the US Army Reserves have been deployed to the island. Most of its buildings are either damaged or destroyed and the communication network is crippled.
A dam is also in danger of bursting, officials say.
“Puerto Rico is part of the United States, and we need to take swift action,” Rosselló said. “This is a major disaster.”