As conditions continue to deteriorate in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, Florida Democratic legislators are calling on Gov. Rick Scott to set up relief centers for Puerto Rican evacuees.
Friday’s ask comes as Scott, who traveled to the island yesterday, meets with President Donald Trump in Washington to give him an update of what’s going on in Puerto Rico and the Sunshine State, still recovering from Hurricane Irma.
The situation in Puerto Rico is growing dire, the Democrats wrote in a letter to Scott.
“Now more than a week removed from Maria’s landfall, nearly 3.4 million Puerto Ricans remain without power, the telecommunications grid for the island is in tatters, citizens are running low on cash due to the lack of functioning ATMs necessary to purchase supplies and are faced with an inability to process debit transactions, and large areas outside urban centers remain inaccessible as roads continue to be blocked by fallen debris or are washed away completely,” incoming Senate Minority Leader Jeff Clemens, House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, and a handful of House and Senate members wrote to Scott.
The disaster could result in “hundreds of thousands” of evacuees fleeing to Florida, home to more than 1 million Puerto Ricans already, the Democrats wrote.
“To prepare for this influx of hundreds of thousands new Floridians, we believe it is vital that the state respond proactively to ease their transition and reduce the mental and financial strain this process is sure to inflict on many families,” they wrote.
The “relief centers” could provide”one-stop access to local, state, and federal officials who could offer guidance on housing aid and availability and other services, the Democrats suggested.
The request for the relief centers comes a day after Florida U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio called for the “cavalry” — in the form of the U.S. military — to come to the rescue in Puerto Rico.