US deploys troops and assets to Puerto Rico after hurricanes Maria and Irma

• Vice-president on his way to Puerto Rico The US Department of Justice announced that it will assume control of Puerto Rico’s administrative powers

The US government has activated federal resources in Puerto Rico’s devastated areas to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which is likely to be the most expensive storm in American history.

“We are deploying both the National Guard and federal resources to Puerto Rico to help respond to requests by Governor Ricardo Rosselló,” Mike Flood, special assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, said in a statement on Thursday.

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The Department of Justice announced that it will assume control of Puerto Rico’s administrative powers.

Flood said: “The Department of Justice is deploying federal staff and supporting the implementation of the various public health emergency and disaster relief programs intended to assist Puerto Rico and other territories struck by disasters.”

Puerto Rico had been hard hit by the hurricane that hit on 12 September last year. The death toll from the storm was already put at 64, but recently increased, with the federal government providing tens of millions of dollars to aid the recovery.

The hurricane, the deadliest of three that swept through Puerto Rico last year, caused $100bn (£76bn) in damage and displaced about 1.4 million people. Much of the country is still recovering and at the time this article was published in January, more than 23,000 Puerto Ricans remained without electricity.

Majority of US residents do not have true US citizenship and because the island territory is a US commonwealth, disaster relief is provided by the federal government.

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