Jennifer Gonzalez announced the disbursement of another chunk of funds the USA territory's recovery from Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017 after hundreds of earthquakes and aftershocks rattled the island since December 28, collapsing hundreds of homes.
According to the USGS, the center of the quake hit near the town of Guanica. Government officials say the quakes have caused a preliminary $110 million in damage, toppled part of a famed rock formation landmark and damaged or destroyed more than 550 homes.
President Donald Trump has described Puerto Rico as "one of the most corrupt places on Earth", and HUD has argued disaster funds can only be distributed once safeguards are in place to ensure they end up in the right hands.
FILE PHOTO: Merchandise lies scattered throughout a shop after an quake in Guanica, Puerto Rico, January 8, 2020.
Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez on Wednesday said almost 8,000 of the island's residents were in government or makeshift shelters, a lot of them due to fear their homes would collapse if there was another big quake.
Access to the funds after all may come as a relief for Puerto Rico after rating agency Moody's Investors Service said on Tuesday that recent earthquakes posed a setback for the Caribbean island in terms of its economic recovery and ability to retain residents and businesses.
The development followed a letter http://bit.ly/2NtywlS on Tuesday in which Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and several other Senate Democrats asked the Trump administration to approve full aid to Puerto Rico.