Reps. Espaillat, Gutiérrez, Velázquez, Serrano, and New York Caribbean Leaders Prepare for Hurricane Irma

September 6, 2017
Press Release
Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez, Congressman José E. Serrano, and New York State and Local Officials Brace for Irma’s Impact Throughout the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Today, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. José E. Serrano (D-NY), and New York leaders and officials issued the following statements regarding the passage of Hurricane Irma through the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean.

"Hurricane Irma has strengthened to become a Category 5 storm, the most dangerous category. It threatens to hit the Caribbean islands of the northwest and Puerto Rico today, and the northern part of the Dominican Republic by this Thursday,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY). “We witnessed the devastating impact that Hurricane Harvey continues to have on Houston and the surrounding communities. We must remain vigilant and in continuous communication with leaders and representatives of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, and we will stand ready to assist all who will be in harm’s way during this hurricane alert.”

“I am obviously worried about my family, my friends and really all my brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean. They never need a storm like this to hit them, but especially now, it is heartbreaking for Puerto Rico when the infrastructure and capacity to respond is already under duress due to the financial crisis,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL).

“Puerto Rico is already suffering from extraordinary economic difficulties. Hurricane Irma could wreak enormous havoc on an already vulnerable population and its aging infrastructure. I will be working with my colleagues in Congress and calling on the Administration to swiftly dispatch federal assistance to Puerto Rico and all parts of the U.S. affected by this historic storm.  Residents of Puerto Rico are our fellow citizens and we must ensure every appropriate federal tool is employed to help their recovery,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY).

"As our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean brace themselves for Hurricane Irma, we must remain vigilant and stand ready to help after what is expected to be the worst storm to go through the region in Atlantic history. Last week we witnessed the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey; this one is expected to be as bad. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will do everything in my power to help these islands in any way possible, including helping territories like Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands obtain the necessary federal funding for disaster relief and reconstruction efforts, and providing the Dominican Republic and other affected nations with the foreign aid necessary to help recover from this hurricane," said Rep. José E. Serrano (D-NY).

"En momentos en que nos encontramos en alerta permanente por los vientos huracanados, las lluvias e inundaciones que afectarán áreas de la República Dominicana por el paso del huracán Irma, respaldo el esfuerzo y la muestra de solidaridad a favor del país y de las zonas que podrían ser afectadas, que está encabezando el congresista Adriano Espaillat y más de 100 líderes de los Estados Unidos, con los cuales he venido manteniendo una comunicación constante y fluida ante el peligro que representa para nuestro país y la región el azote de este fenómeno natural", dijo el ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de la República Dominicana, Ing. Miguel Vargas Maldonado. "Por mi parte, he instruido a los consulados de República Dominicana destacados en las islas caribeñas que serán o fueron afectadas por los vientos y las lluvias provocadas por el huracán Irma, a que presten toda la ayuda necesaria a la comunidad afectada por el paso del indicado meteoro".

"The devastation and loss of life caused by Hurricane Irma is a tragedy that is compounded by the realization that extreme weather events will become more common as the effects of global climate change intensify. Dominicans in both the Dominican Republic and in the United States must stand in solidarity with each-other, communities helping each other when tragedy strikes. When we rebuild, we must make sure that our communities are resilient to changing environment and are sustainable for the long-term future. I pray for all those displaced, injured, or killed in the storm," said New York State Senator Marisol Alcantara.

"Hurricane Irma presents projected hazardous conditions to the islands in the Caribbean and possibly the coast of Florida. It is considered an extremely powerful catastrophic natural disaster ranked category 5 averaging over 180 miles per hour. To prepare with sense of urgency, it is essential to alert the different population of these areas to take emergency measures, adapt safety tips, and to follow evacuation guidelines from their local government and respective first-response bodies," said NYS Assemblywoman De La Rosa. "We are in a state of emergency for which the allocation of needed resources, quick assistance, and unity are indispensable for our people and our neighboring islands to overcome these anticipated severe weather conditions."

“Damage from severe weather systems has become more common in a clear sign that climate change is real and is happening now. The hardest hit areas can take years to recover, and our greatest chance for lessening that impact is to come together in creating policies and allocating resources that work to restore what is lost with an eye toward protecting it in the future. As our southern coast rebuilds from the destruction of Hurricane Harvey, it is imperative that those in the path of Hurricane Irma remain mindful of their safety. Our thoughts are with those facing the incoming destruction, and here in New York City, we will work with our Caribbean, Dominican, and Puerto Rican communities to ensure that they remain in contact with their affected loved ones,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

"It is vitally important for all those in the path of Hurricane Irma to take emergency measures to protect themselves and their loved ones. This is a potentially devastating hurricane headed directly for the Caribbean islands and the Florida coast, right on the heels of Hurricane Harvey. The frequency of storms growing in power and devastation is clear evidence that climate change is happening and that we must expand, not remove, regulations that limit carbon emissions and other activity harmful to our environment,” said New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.

“We must come together as one to deliver our solidarity, assistance and love to our brothers and sisters impacted by Hurricane Irma,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Hurricane Irma has the potential to be catastrophic to Puerto Rico, the southern United States, the Dominican Republic and the entire Caribbean. Those states and countries along the path of Hurricane Irma will need our help in the short term, as well as significant resources in the recovery and rebuilding phase. We must care for and support each other in this time of potential devastation, and prepare to act in support of those affected by Hurricane Irma as quickly as we can.”

“As we have done over our 25 year history, the Hispanic Federation stands ready to help those affected by Hurricane Irma in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic,” said Jose Calderon, President of the Hispanic Federation. “We are proud to join Congressman Espaillat, NYS Senator Alcantara and NYC Council Rodriguez in this relief effort, and grateful to be in a position to help manage funds raised for this critical cause. Together, we’re going to make sure that our community is well informed on how they can best give and help those affected by Hurricane Irma.”

“Antes el posible impacto del Huracán Irma a la zona norte de República Dominicana, hemos activado el Comité de Emergencia del Consulado Dominicano. Nos mantenemos en comunicación permanente y directa con los oficiales electos de origen dominicano, encabezado por el congresista Adriano Espaillat, quien siempre ha mostrado su solidaridad con sus connacionales que han resultado afectados por huracanes, inundaciones, desbordamientos de ríos, etc. La comunidad dominicana residente en los estados de Nueva York, Nueva Jersey, Connecticut y Pennsylvania, siempre ha sido solidaria con nuestro país en casos de desastres naturales.  El presidente Danilo Medina está tomando las medidas preventivas necesarias para evitar pérdidas de vidas y estamos a la espera de instrucciones de nuestro gobierno,” dijo Carlos A. Castillo, el Cónsul General de la República Dominicana en Nueva York.

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Media inquiries: Candace Randle Person (Espaillat) at