Biden approves disaster declaration for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for Puerto Rico as the U.S. territory reels from Hurricane Fiona.

President Joe Biden has approved a major disaster declaration for Puerto Rico as it reels from Hurricane Fiona, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said Wednesday.

The declaration will grant access to emergency individual and public assistance for residents affected by the storm.

The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Deanne Criswell, began touring affected communities in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, conducting initial damage assessments to support the governor's request.

A woman looks at her water-damaged belongings Tuesday after flooding caused by Hurricane Fiona tore through her home in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. Stephanie Rojas / APOfficial estimates on the damage caused by Fiona will come later as government personnel visit more communities and experts quantify the loss, Criswell said at a news conference Wednesday.

"Now that we find ourselves responding to Fiona, we're going to have an opportunity" to rebuild damaged roads and bridges in a more resilient way "so that they can withstand future impacts," Criswell said.

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