FEMA changes mind, will continue to help hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

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The GlobalGiving Campaign continues to provide support to relief efforts in Puerto Rico, shifting their focus from immediate help to long-term structural assistance as well as assistance to other Caribbean countries affected by the storm.

"There is no decision to stop distribution of commodities".

Boston - Gov. Charlie Baker Monday filed a supplemental budget bill that will provide additional education funding for districts supporting students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have come to MA following hurricanes Maria and Irma. A different spokesperson, Delyris Aquino-Santiago, had earlier told NPR that it would "officially shut off" its food and water mission on the island on January 31 and hand its remaining food and water supplies over to the Puerto Rican government to finish distributing.

The members signing the letter included Florida's two USA senators, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio, and the state's lone US representative with Puerto Rican roots, Orlando Democrat Darren Soto.

"This aid is not stopping", FEMA spokesman William Booher told the NYT. FEMA's newest statement, however, comes after two days of widespread backlash.

"Yesterday, I had to help - because it is a moral imperative to help - a school about 45 minutes from San Juan that still has no water, no electricity and no milk for their children", the mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, said at the Latino Victory Summit, a gathering of Latino leaders and activists that seeks to boost the number of Hispanics in elected office. Cruz pointed to citizens on the island who still have no power, no water and no financial stability. Marco Rubio, who also represents Florida, who pointed out many in America have misconceptions about Puerto Rico, which may compound the problem.

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FEMA said it's provided up to $500 million in public assistance to date, with an additional $3.2 million to help with unemployment stemming from Maria.

"Nothing is changing on the 31st", Llargues told HuffPost on Tuesday.

The agency said Wednesday that distribution of supplies already stockpiled on the island will continue.

The turnabout came after politicians from both political parties reacted angrily to news of FEMA's plan and after the Puerto Rican government released a statement saying it had not been informed of the impending change. He did not say when the agency would finalize its plan to hand the remaining supplies over to the Puerto Rican government.

If the Trump administration is truly "with" the 3.4 million US citizens who call Puerto Rico home, and committed to being a partner in the island's full recovery, it won't pull the plug too soon on food and water deliveries, along with any other vital aid.