FEMA To Help Transport Maria Refugees

Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency reported Thursday that they would help transport hurricane survivors from Puerto Rico to the states of Florida and New York.

Authorities said the agency would do this for free, giving priority for relocation to the roughly 3,000 Puerto Ricans who are currently living in shelters.

Agency officials said the goal was a temporary relocation, not a permanent one, while efforts are made to restore power and other critical services to the island.

Officials noted that they would work with families to make sure plans were in place and in order for the people seeking the relocation service.

The goal is to ensure that people coming to Florida or New York have a place to go and a support network before they arrive, rather than having to cast around for one.

Gov. Rick Scott called for the state's emergency operations center to go to Level Two status, as a result of the news from FEMA.

Scott said the idea was to make sure that federal, state, and local officials were all essentially in communication and on the same page; and that the proper resources could be allocated in a timely manner.

More than 140,000 refugees have reportedly arrived in Florida since Hurricane Maria hammered the island.

Authorities say that 59 percent of the island is still without power.

Scott's office said the state expected to be reimbursed by the federal government for expenses associated with the FEMA effort.

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