More than $8 billion of Puerto Rico residents’ economic losses are due to Hurricane Maria, the U.S. territory’s government announced Thursday.
The federal disaster agency said the state has received $4.9 billion in aid and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has received about $3.9 million in federal funding.
But those funds were limited to Puerto Rico after a federal judge blocked some of the aid.
The agency said Puerto Rico will receive $8.4 billion in federal funds through December 31.
“Our goal is to have all the money we need to make sure Puerto Rico is resilient in this time of financial hardship,” said Eric Pincus, the acting administrator of the U and Puerto Rico, who was named in a lawsuit filed last month by the island’s governor.
The relief comes amid uncertainty over the islands recovery from a Category 4 hurricane in late September.
In the wake of Maria, Puerto Rico had been receiving federal aid and some federal aid is being distributed, but there are no funds in place to restore power or water to the territory.
In Puerto Rico and the U., the federal government is working with Puerto Rico to implement its plan to rebuild.
Puerto Rico has asked the U, which is running the territory’s finances, to step up by transferring its debt and other assets to the federal treasury.
That process is ongoing, but Pinca said he expects it will take at least a year.
He said he hopes Puerto Rico can start collecting its debt in about a year and is confident the island can begin collecting its revenue from July 1.
“I am hopeful we can get Puerto Rico off the island and start to collect our debt as soon as possible,” he said.
Puerto Rican President Carmen Yulín Cruz said the relief is necessary to help the island recover from the damage caused by the hurricane.
She has said the island needs $2 billion in financial assistance to be able to pay for the reconstruction of its electricity grid.
She also said Puerto Rican people should not have to live on $4,500 per month.