President Trump has declared a major disaster occurring in Puerto Rico after the island took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria, the White House announced Thursday.
The designation makes federal funds available for those affected by the widespread damage from landslides, flooding and downed tree.
The federal assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Vice President Mike Pence said the administration was committed to helping Puerto Rico recover.
“We have people coming ashore now who were prepositioned on ships. We’re about to deliver 8 million meals, over 8 million liters of water, 31 industrial generators,” he said on Fox News. “We are there with the people of Puerto Rico, as President Trump has said, and we are going to stay there until Puerto Rico and all the good people there build all the way back.”
The Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds was the strongest storm that hit Puerto Rico in over 80 years. The hurricane knocked out power to the entire island when it struck Wednesday.
A 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew was imposed by the governor, who cited safety concerns for everyone in Puerto Rico.
The extent of the damage in Puerto Rico is still unknown. Hurricane Maria killed at least 10 people across the Caribbean.