U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, called on Senate leaders on Monday to immediately work with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Roselló to formulate and pass an emergency bill to rebuild Puerto Rico and restore stability to the island in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The hurricanes have left the island without many critical resources such as power, shelter, running water, accessible roads, communications capabilities and medical supplies.

The Guajataca Dam suffered major damage during Hurricane Maria, and is in imminent risk of collapsing. Failure of the dam could cause life-threatening flash flooding endangering 70,000 Puerto Rico residents.

“The economic crisis in Puerto Rico has officially devolved into a humanitarian disaster,” said Murphy. “Power is out, roads and bridges have collapsed, thousands have lost their homes, and entire areas of the island have still not been heard from.

“Congress needs to step up to the plate and give Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands the immediate relief they need — just as we did for Texas and Florida. My heart is with all those in Puerto Rico and in Connecticut who have been affected by the terrifying devastation.”

Murphy said the truth is that Hurricanes Irma and Maria have revealed far more than just physical damage to Puerto Rico.

“For decades, Washington has neglected our obligations to the island. We’ve denied Puerto Rico’s residents — American citizens — vital human services and adequate health care funding, and there’s no doubt in my mind that our negligence made the devastation in Puerto Rico even worse. I’m going to fight on the Appropriations Committee to get Puerto Rico the assistance and stability they deserve — Congress needs to do better.”  

More than 275,000 Puerto Ricans live in Connecticut, making up about 8% of the state’s population. Communities across Connecticut are rallying together and coordinating efforts to assist in Puerto Rico’s recovery.