After a year in which natural disasters devastated Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, California, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other places across the country, the House has finally unveiled an $81 billion relief package.
POLITICO reports that the bill is divided among Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico,the U.S. Virgin Islands, and “states ravaged by wildfires.”
Though the new package is a significant increase from the $44 billion in disaster relief funds the Trump administration asked Congress for, it will undoubtedly fall short of what the affected areas actually need.
In November, Puerto Rico alone asked for $94 billion to help rebuild the island; Texas requested $61 billion. Experts estimate that the damage inflicted on Florida and Texas by Hurricane Harvey and Irma totals between $150 billion to $200 billion. When one factors in the Hurricane Maria’s destruction, the cost gets astronomically higher.
Beyond financial losses, the natural disasters that raged across the country this year claimed a tragic number of human lives. Hurricane Harvey is estimated to have taken 82 lives, and Hurricane Irma 61. While the official death toll in Puerto Rico is 62, the island’s governor has requested a review of the number, as increasing evidence shows that the actual figure might be over 1,000.