President Donald Trump’s administration is not forcing Puerto Rican hurricane victims to pay to be evacuated from the island, contrary to some reports, but evacuees from the island of Dominica will still owe money.
The US State Department requires all US citizens to repay the costs of an evacuation, but this rule only applies to US citizens based internationally.
Puerto Rico is US territory so evacuations do not fall under the department’s jurisdiction, officials have explained. Residents on the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean island of Dominica will still have to pay to be evacuated to safety via US-coordinated transport, however. Dominica was the first island nation hit by the full force of the category-five Hurricane Maria.
Large areas of the island, home to around 71,000 people, have been completely flattened and around 80 per cent of buildings left damaged, with communication lines cut and no running water.
Although the US Department of State evacuated 225 people from the Caribbean island, most signed “promissory notes” agreeing to repay the government for travel costs, a source told The Hill.