WASHINGTON, Sept 6, 2017 (BSS/AFP) – President Donald Trump declared states of emergency in Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands on Tuesday ahead of potentially devastating Hurricane Irma’s strike.
The move allows federal assistance funds to be deployed so that authorities can better handle emergencies in their areas.
The storm, packing winds of 185 miles (300 kilometers) per hour, is considered potentially catastrophic for Puerto Rico — a commonwealth of 3.5 million US citizens — the tiny US Virgin Islands (100,000) and Florida, population 21 million.
Trump’s declaration “authorizes the Department of Homeland Security (and) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster relief efforts,” a White House statement read.
“This action will help alleviate the hardship and suffering that the emergency may inflict on the local population, and provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures.”