WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Monday will survey damage from Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico, the place tens of hundreds of individuals are nonetheless with out energy two weeks after the storm hit.

The Class 1 hurricane knocked out electrical energy to the U.S. territory of three.2 million folks, 44% of whom dwell beneath the poverty line.

Energy has been restored to about 90% of the island’s 1.47 million prospects, however greater than 137,000 others, principally within the hardest hit areas of Puerto Rico’s southern and western areas, continue to struggle at nighttime. One other 66,000 prospects are with out water.

Biden has pledged that the U.S. authorities is not going to abandon Puerto Rico because it begins to rebuild once more, 5 years after the extra highly effective Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017.

“We see what you’re going by way of, and we’re with you,” Biden informed Puerto Ricans and Floridians in a message Sunday on his official Twitter account.

Florida is cleansing up after Hurricane Ian churned throughout that state final week, killing greater than 60 folks, decimating some coastal communities and flooding others. Biden plans to go to Florida on Wednesday to survey harm.

The president, accompanied by first woman Jill Biden and Deanne Criswell, the Federal Emergency Administration Company administrator, was to the touch down Monday in Ponce, Puerto Rico, a metropolis on the southern coast. Many of the storm harm is in southern Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi stated he would replace Biden on restoration efforts.

“We’ll make certain to maintain working collectively to make sure the continuity of a reconstruction already underway,” the governor tweeted on Sunday.

Fiona induced catastrophic flooding, tore aside roads and bridges, and unleashed greater than 100 landslides when it hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 18. A minimum of two folks died after being swept away by floods, and several other others have been killed in accidents associated to using candles or generator in the course of the island-wide energy outage.

Authorities officers have estimated some $3 billion in damages, however warn that prices might rise considerably as evaluations proceed.

Some folks in Puerto Rico puzzled whether or not Biden’s go to would change something as they recalled how President Donald Trump visited after Hurricane Maria hit as a extra highly effective Class 4 storm in 2017, and tossed rolls of paper towels right into a crowd in a show that riled many.

Manuel Veguilla, a 63-year-old retired mechanic who lives in a distant group within the hard-hit northern mountain city of Caguas, stated he didn’t anticipate his life to enhance within the aftermath of Fiona, which reduce off his neighborhood from any assist for every week.

“They at all times supply the lollipop to the children,” he stated, referring to Biden’s go to. “However ultimately, the result is at all times the identical. The help goes to those that have probably the most.”

Criswell, who mentioned the aftermath of Fiona and Ian on 4 Sunday TV information applications, echoed Biden’s promise to Fiona’s victims.

“Now we have not left Puerto Rico,” she stated on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Criswell stated on ABC’s “This Week” that FEMA personnel have been despatched to the island earlier than the storm hit and that “they’re going to stick with the folks of Puerto Rico” by way of the restoration efforts.

Biden not too long ago informed Pierluisi that he approved 100% federal funding for a month for particles elimination, search and rescue efforts, energy and water restoration, shelter and meals.

The shortage {of electrical} energy on the island led to the momentary closure of companies, together with gasoline stations and grocery shops, as gas provides dwindled amid heavy generator use. In consequence, many cheered the Biden administration’s determination to quickly waive a federal regulation so {that a} British Petroleum ship might ship 300,000 barrels of diesel.

Many even have begun demanding that Puerto Rico be absolutely exempted from the regulation, referred to as the Jones Act, that requires that each one items transported to Puerto Rico be aboard a ship constructed within the U.S., owned and crewed by U.S. residents and flying the U.S. flag. This drives up prices for an island that already imports 85% of its meals.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., additionally stated Puerto Ricans wouldn’t be forgotten.

Rubio stated the island gave the impression to be “in higher place to reply this time round” because of the prepositioning of personnel and provides earlier than the storm hit and since a part of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid had been rebuilt after Hurricane Maria.

“We’ll do the whole lot we will, we at all times have, to assist Puerto Rico now within the restoration after this, one more devastating storm,” Rubio stated on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Coto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico.