President Joe Biden visited Puerto Rico on Monday marking his first of two trips to areas ravaged by hurricanes in recent weeks.
Biden was accompanied by first lady Jill Biden. They met with families and community leaders impacted by Hurricane Fiona.
The president announced a $60 million investment to shore up levees and flood walls. The money will also be used to create a new flood warning system to help residents better prepare for future storms.
"We have to ensure that when the next hurricane strikes, Puerto Rico is ready," Biden said.
Hurricane Fiona caused nearly two dozen deaths as a Category 1 system. After initially knocking out power to the entire island, 92% of power customers have had service restored, Puerto Rico’s power agency LUMA said. There are still nearly 100,000 customers without power.
Hurricane Fiona was Puerto Rico’s second major blow from a hurricane. In 2017, Category 5 Hurricane Maria knocked out power to the island for months. Official death tolls from Hurricane Maria vary as the humanitarian toll from the hurricane weighed on the U.S. territory.
Amid growing pressure, the White House announced it was waiving the Jones Act, which requires shipments between U.S. ports be conducted by domestic operators. The suspension of the Jones Act allows Puerto Rico to more easily access diesel fuel and other supplies from foreign freight operators.
Biden is next expected to visit Florida to view the damage left behind from Hurricane Ian on Wednesday.