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NYC sending 24 more city workers to Puerto Rico after earthquakes

Posted at 7:21 AM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-14 19:21:01-05

NEW YORK — After a series of devastating earthquakes struck Puerto Rico last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that New York City will send 24 additional city workers down to the island to help with ongoing recovery efforts.

The city's new response team consists of 15 more building inspectors and structural engineers and seven more emergency managers and two mental health professionals, a statement from the mayor's office said.

The total number of city personnel deployed to Puerto Rico now sits at 28, after a smaller group was sent last week to help.

"Unlike the Trump Administration, New York City will always be there to support our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico," de Blasio said in the statement.

"The pain experienced by our neighbors due to these disasters is weighing on the hearts and minds of all of us," the mayor added. "Our expert team is dedicated to helping the island recover from the devastating effects of these earthquakes as quickly as possible."

The news comes just a day after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he'll head to Puerto Rico Tuesday in the aftermath of earthquakes.

The initial team of NYC personnel, one from the NYPD, two from NYC Emergency Management and one from the Department of Buildings, was deployed last Thursday.

City workers heading to Puerto Rico will work closely with local officials in San Juan, Guayanilla, Ponce, Guanica and Penuelas to conduct assessments and identify additional resources, the mayor's office said.

The ground in southwest Puerto Rico has been shaking since Dec. 28 with hundreds of small earthquakes.

Recent quakes have toppled homes and schools. The director of Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority has ordered the temporary closure of the company’s largest plant, which crews had been inspecting for damage caused by earlier quakes.