Alianza and Cong. Darren Soto To Hold Virtual Rally for Victims of Hurricane Maria Around Storm’s 3-Year Anniversary
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Media Contact: Cristina Robinson
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WHEN: Thursday, October 1 at 10:00 am EST
Orlando, Fla. - Three years from when Hurricane María struck Puerto Rico, lack of action by both private firms and government continue to affect the victims of that deadly cyclone.
Alianza For Progress, Florida's leading Puerto Rican advocacy organization, is partnering with Congressman Darren Soto of Central Florida to bring awareness to the ongoing challenges faced by those victims, holding a virtual rally on October 1st.
The event will highlight how bad faith from insurance companies, together with an incompetent, hostile disaster relief effort from the Trump administration, denied Puerto Ricans the protections they thought they had. While a slow and underwhelming federal response to the disaster resulted in thousands of preventable deaths, left the island without power for months, disrupted the economy and pushed many to leave Puerto Rico altogether, the systematic practice by insurance companies of denying valid claims since then is foreclosing on any hope many have of rebuilding.
Earlier this year, the New York Times published a major story that revealed some $1.6 billion in unpaid insurance claims in the wake of Hurricane Maria, with tens of thousands of hurricane victims having been either offered nothing or pennies on the dollar to repair the devastating damage caused by the hurricane.
Marcos Vilar, Alianza's Executive Director, said “the practice of denying insured storm victims in Puerto Rico the payouts that they’re entitled to is just another tool of oppression against Puerto Ricans. Just like Donald Trump treated Puerto Rico as undeserving of relief after the most devastating storm in its history, and now wants us to praise him for throwing us scraps from his table, these insurance companies are hoping to get away with giving us less than we deserve.”
“Over 3 years ago, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and caused over $100 Billion in damages. Lives are still being lost due to the lack of reconstruction funds. Businesses have remained closed for years, homes are still wrecked, and blue FEMA tarps are still nailed to broken roofs. Hundreds of thousands of people rely on obtaining proper payment of their insurance claims. It is an absolute shame that, after all this time, Americans in Puerto Rico are still being victimized by an uncaring and ineffective federal response,” said Congressman Darren Soto.
The virtual event will also feature first-hand commentary from hurricane victims who have yet to be paid.
“Blue Tarps have become a part of the landscape in Puerto Rico yet the insurance companies continue to fill their pockets here and elsewhere,” said claim holder Lizzette Santiago. “Who will make them accountable? Should their licenses be revoked? It's inhumane.”