September is National Preparedness Month. It was in September of 2017 that Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, and eight states are still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. The annual observance reminds everyone to be prepared for disasters.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced their choice of members of Congress to serve as co-chairs of National Preparedness Month 2021. Among them is Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colon.
National Preparedness Month
The motto for 2021 is “Prepare to protect.” See the list of items FEMA recommends adding to a disaster preparedness kit for your family. FEMA suggest that households and businesses in Puerto Rico have 10 days’ worth of supplies on hand throughout the Hurricane season.
“Preparedness is now more important than ever,” said Gonzalez-Colon. “Over the last five years Puerto Ricans have had to deal with unprecedented hurricanes, seismic activity, and now we are all in the midst of a global pandemic. We have had to learn to adjust our plans and be at a higher level of readiness. That is why this September’s National Preparedness Month is more critical than ever: it is a time to make sure you and your family are prepared to face and mitigate challenges when they occur. As a National Preparedness Month Congressional Co-Chair, I urge everyone to have an up-to-date emergency response plan in place so that you will be ready when disaster strikes.”
After Hurricane Maria, people and businesses in Puerto Rico were without electricity and telecommunications for an average of 83 days. While much of the Island has been built back better, unemployment remains at 8.4% and food insecurity at 40%. Community leaders are concerned that households may not be ready for the next disaster.
The 2021 season
The Climate Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) anticipates a 65% chance of a busier-than-normal hurricane season in The Atlantic this year.
Governor Pierluisi told ABC News, “We all have to keep in mind that we have a very fragile electrical grid.” The health care system is also still challenged. Individual preparations are especially important under these circumstances.
Other Congressional co-chairs include Val Demmings and John Katko, both of whom coincidentally co-sponsor the Puerto Rico Statehood Admissions Bill, as well as two Senators and a number of other House members.