5.2 magnitude natural disaster strikes Puerto Rico, USGS says

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

President Donald Trump has described Puerto Rico as "one of the most corrupt places on Earth", and HUD has argued disaster funds can only be distributed once safeguards are in place to ensure they end up in the right hands. Officials blamed the delay on political volatility in the US territory but the President may have other reasons to hold on to the fund. However, just $1.5 billion had been disbursed, leaving many lawmakers and local leaders perplexed.

Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the administration to "cease and desist that illegal activity", referring to the hold on the funds.

"The people of Puerto Rico have been through hell, and while the federal administration abdicated its responsibility to help American citizens during hard times, NY is continuing to step up to provide assistance", Cuomo said.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will allow the USA territory to access the $8.2 billion once the agency publishes a Federal Register notice on how it plans to distribute the funds, according to Politico.

The quakes have worsened Puerto Rico's woes as it continues to recover from Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017, which killed about 3,000 people, and goes through a bankruptcy process.

Puerto Rico will be allowed access to $8.2 billion in blocked disaster aid funding by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Politico reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The estimated damage so far is over $100 million.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority said power has been restored to 99% of its customers.



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