Why Florida has banned travel to Puerto Rico
Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for Puerto Rico as the island prepares for a massive hurricane.
Scott issued the emergency order Saturday as Puerto Rico grapples with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
The governor’s order calls for an immediate evacuation of all Puerto Rican residents and a curfew in Puerto Rico, where there are some 1.5 million people without power and the country has just under 1.3 million people registered as homeless.
In addition to the curfew, Scott also said people who have left the island will be barred from traveling on the island.
“This is a matter of life and death for our people,” Scott said in a statement Saturday.
“There is no place for fear, there is no excuse for inaction and this order is necessary.”
Scott’s executive order came after a White House official said Friday that Puerto Rico has lost its ability to recover from Hurricane Maria’s catastrophic impact.
Scott has said he’s worried about the lack of response to the disaster from local authorities in Puerto Ricos capital, San Juan, but he has not issued an order banning the island from returning to normal.
Puerto Rico is already facing severe water shortages, as the islands territory faces a severe water shortage due to a lack of fresh water supplies.
The governor said Saturday that Puerto Ricans need to “come together, not against, and stand together.”
“If the people of Puerto Rico can’t come together to help the people who are in their homes and their businesses, then the people and their governments have failed,” Scott told reporters Saturday.
While Scott said Friday he has asked FEMA to assess Puerto Rico’s needs and get supplies to the island, he said Saturday he wants the government to provide relief and assistance to Puerto Ricers.
On Sunday, the island is expected to receive more than 6.5 feet (2 meters) of rain and winds of up to 90 mph (160 kph).
Scott said Saturday the island was going to be “the first to go,” but he said the state of Emergency order will not affect other states or territories in the US.