UPDATE: The House of Representatives passed a disaster supplemental package on February 7th. The bill heads to the Senate next. Please take action!
Congress is expected to take up an emergency aid package for Puerto Rico in the wake of ongoing earthquakes and aftershock damages to the island. The new package comes as the Trump Administration recently released half of the blocked allocated assistance to help Puerto Ricans recovering from severe storms like Hurricane Maria. Many now face additional damages across the region.
As acknowledged in a statement by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton, our Lutheran brothers and sisters in the ELCA Caribbean Synod and national ministry partners of Lutheran Disaster Response have been active in assisting those of us in the greatest need of recovery. Still, nearly a month after the first earthquakes hit, only 20% of schools have opened their doors. Additionally, many people remain in outdoor conditions as aftershocks leave many concerned about returning to unstable housing.
Lutheran Social Services of Puerto Rico (LSS-PR) has been actively responding to Hurricane Maria. In September 30, 2019, LSS-PR reported that of the 2,500 households they served, over 80% needs assistance in home repair and rebuild, and more than 50% needs furniture. These survivors desperately need funding to help them purchase building materials, furniture and hire contractors. You can find out more at Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) and direct stories on the LDR Blog.
Showing support for disaster impacted communities is a longstanding standard and tradition in our national and Lutheran history. As lawmakers discuss an appropriate response, now is the time to tell your representatives to support a wholistic emergency package that includes aid to those of us in the greatest need. With a growing number of natural disasters affecting our communities across the U.S., it is also a timely opportunity to express support for authorizing a formal Community Development Block Grant disaster program to ensure a fast-acting federal plan and recovery response to emergencies.
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