December 08, 2017

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Leads Bipartisan Letter Urging House Leadership to Provide Emergency Assistance to Hurricane Devastated Caribbean Countries

Washington, D.C. - Today Congresswoman Barbara lee led a bipartisan letter to Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi urging them to provide robust supplemental funding for hurricane devastated Caribbean countries.

“This year hurricanes Harvey, Jose, Irma and Maria tore through the Florida Peninsula and the Texas coastline, leaving millions of Americans without food, shelter or electricity,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

“Sadly, Caribbean countries which have been utterly decimated by these hurricanes were not included in any funding request sent by the President to Congress. Our Caribbean neighbors are in desperate need of food, water, shelter and electricity. We simply cannot leave them behind that is why I am urging House leadership to include $1.1 billion in a supplemental appropriations package to aid in the short-to long-term relief, recovery and reconstruction of these islands.”

Excerpts from the letter:

As you know, Hurricanes Harvey, Jose, Irma and Maria have ravaged our mainland, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and our friends and neighbors in the Caribbean. Sadly, our friends in the Caribbean were not included in any funding request sent by the President to Congress. Given our proximity and the crucial economic and security partnerships we maintain with our Caribbean neighbors, we think it is imperative to prioritize funding for those countries that were devastated by these storms.

Thousands have been affected by these hurricanes and the widespread devastation, especially with regard to housing and infrastructure, is unparalleled.  According to a recent CARICOM report, Hurricane Irma left 169,000 people and 75,000 buildings exposed to a deadly wind speed that resulted in 134 deaths. Days later, Hurricane Maria left at least 97 people dead and even more devastation.

Given the enormity of the challenges ahead and the current humanitarian crisis, the Caribbean will require the coordinated and sustained financial commitment of the United States. For this reason, we urge you to include $1.1 billion in a supplemental appropriations package that will aid the short-to long-term relief, recovery, and reconstruction of these islands.

Full text of the letter can be found here.