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Biden calls Puerto Rico governor amid Fiona devastation

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President Biden on Monday called the governor of Puerto Rico to discuss the federal response to the devastation seen so far from Hurricane Fiona.

Puerto Rico has seen its power grid downed, landslides unleashed and infrastructure including roads and bridges destroyed since the hurricane hit ground on the southwest coast on Sunday.

Biden and Gov. Pedro Pierluisi discussed the immediate needs of Puerto Rico on the call, which took place aboard Air Force One while the president was on his way back from London following Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

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The president said there are more than 300 federal personnel on the ground in Puerto Rico already working to assist with response and recovery and in the coming days, as damage assessments are conducted, the number of support personnel will increase “substantially.”

Biden on Sunday declared a state of emergency in the territory.

The president also acknowledged the extra devastation following Hurricane Maria in 2017, and the governor “expressed his appreciation for the partnership and support” from the administration so far, the White House said.

“The President said that he will ensure that the Federal team remains on the job to get it done, especially given that Puerto Rico is still recovering from the damage of Hurricane Maria five years ago this week,” according to the White House.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell will travel to Puerto Rico on Tuesday to meet with state and local officials and impacted citizens, the White House announced. She is expected to assess urgent needs that the president has directed FEMA to meet.

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