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Why States Took So Long to Dispatch Help to Puerto Rico

  • After rushing to Texas and Florida, aid to island was slower
  • Commonwealth’s ability to reimburse also cited as factor
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Puerto Rico Governor on Recovery Efforts and Debt

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Within a week of Hurricane Harvey slamming into the Texas coast, Virginia had dispatched a 14-person urban search-and-rescue team, a 17-person team to save people trapped by flood waters, and a National Guard team with 40 soldiers and seven helicopters.

But in the two weeks since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Virginia had sent just a single person though an interstate compact for managing disaster response. His job: helping the island coordinate its requests for aid to other states.