Trump declares Puerto Rico quake disaster, ties strings to relief

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Guayanilla was severely damaged

President Donald Trump this week declared that "a major disaster exists" in Puerto Rico's southern region due to the earthquakes, and indicated that federal assistance would be used to "supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts" in the area, according to a statement from the White House.

"Our hearts go out to the people of Puerto Rico as they work to recover from the impact of the earthquakes".

Prior to this declaration, Puerto Rico was awaiting funding that Congress appropriated for the island after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, destroying its electrical grid in 2017.

The legislation is coming after the administration this week released $8.2 billion in long-delayed hurricane relief - but only after months of complaints and prodding by Democrats, who say the administration is unfairly creating delays as the territory suffers.

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January 18-A local animal shelter is taking part in an emergency evacuation of more than 100 at-risk pets impacted by a series of powerful earthquakes that have devastated Puerto Rico.

A 6.4 magnitude quake hit on January 7 leaving residents without power or water. "The new conditions will make it much harder", the Times writes.

Among new restrictions on the relief is a requirement Puerto Rico's government get approval for aid spending from the island's Fiscal Control Board, a federally-appointed agency for restructuring the territory's debt.

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