DNC on Trump’s Puerto Rico Announcement: More Empty Promises

18 Sep

In response to the Trump administration’s politically motivated announcement regarding Puerto Rico, DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement:

“Donald Trump has consistently treated Puerto Ricans as second-class citizens. His administration failed Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria made landfall and the people desperately needed help, and throughout the recovery process. I visited the island after Maria to bring supplies to those in need. And I witnessed the worst devastation I’ve seen in my life. But instead of showing leadership, Trump abandoned our fellow Americans when they needed us most. At every step, Trump has chosen to attack Puerto Rico and to disrespect the memory of the thousands who died because of his negligence. His administration has knowingly ignored laws and consistently treated Puerto Rico as a bargaining chip.

“Puerto Ricans will not be fooled by his empty promises — the deaths, the suffering, and the struggles Puerto Ricans still face are a constant reminder that Trump talks plenty but does very little. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a comprehensive plan to help Puerto Rico rebuild and begin a new era of hope and prosperity; they will invest in recovery, not play games with disaster aid; they will provide more nutritional assistance and Medicaid funding, not slash them; and and they will treat Puerto Ricans with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

When Hurricane Maria hit, FEMA was unprepared and the administration showed a clear double standard in how it treated hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico versus other states. 

  • FEMA was unprepared for Hurricane Maria hitting Puerto Rico and did not follow federal requirements to adequately prepare enough supplies before the storm.

  • The Trump administration held a persistent double standard in its handling of relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

After Hurricane Maria hit, Trump blamed Puerto Ricans and opposed providing the aid needed. Trump said he did a great job in relief, yet, as thousands died, he was preoccupied asking about selling Puerto Rico.  

  • Trump placed blame on Puerto Ricans in the wake of Hurricane Maria’s devastation and opposed providing the aid they needed to recover.

  • An estimated 4,645 Puerto Ricans died because of Hurricane Maria and its effects, however, Trump gave himself “a 10” for his overall response.

  • In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Trump reportedly asked whether he could “sell” or “divest” from Puerto Rico.

In the years since, the Trump administration has knowingly ignored laws and stalled assistance, has refused to provide congressionally allocated assistance, and has slashed Medicaid funding for the island. All of this, while tens of thousands live under tarps. 

  • The Trump administration knowingly ignored laws and and have further stalled congressionally mandated aid to Puerto Rico.

  • Trump’s reckless government shutdown over his border wall delayed the distribution of hurricane recovery aid for Puerto Rico.

  • Last year, Trump slashed Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico as part of his budget negotiations.

  • On the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s landfall, tens of thousands of homes in Puerto Rico continue to be uninhabitable, with many still living with tarps for roofs.

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WHO and UNICEF recommit to accelerating health and well-being at all ages

18 Sep

The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF today signed a new collaborative framework which will accelerate joint public health efforts that put the most marginalized and vulnerable populations first.

The new Strategic Collaboration Framework builds on a robust 70-year collaboration between the two organizations, and prioritizes four strategic areas for immediate attention and action at all levels of the organizations: universal health coverage, through a primary health care and health systems approach; mental health and psychosocial wellbeing and development; public health emergencies; and maternal and child nutrition.

Additionally, the two organizations signed a new Joint Programme on Mental Health and Psychosocial Well-being and Development of Children and Adolescents. This 10-year collaborative effort will promote mental health and psychosocial well-being and development, increase access to care for mental health conditions, reduce suffering and enhance quality of life among children and adolescents, and their caregivers

Both organizations are particularly concerned about the urgent need to better tackle issues affecting adolescents. Depression is is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents, and suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed huge gaps in accessing health, well-being and nutrition services among children and vulnerable populations,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “There has never been a more urgent need to work together. This new framework will help us strengthen health and food systems, and invest in mental health and psychosocial support in every country in the world.” 

For more than 70 years, WHO and UNICEF have worked together worldwide to ensure children survive and thrive, and benefit from a safe and clean environment. The two organizations collaborated to provide high-impact health, immunization, nutrition, HIV and early child development interventions, as well as safe water and sanitation services in every region of the world, including in fragile and conflict settings.

"At the heart of our work with UNICEF is seeing that every child not only survives but ultimately thrives and transforms their communities and future generations," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "With great appreciation and respect for our unique and complementary roles, we stand together in our commitment to achieve health for all. As this pandemic demonstrates, no-one is safe until everyone is safe.”

Today, WHO and UNICEF continue to work together to stop the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that every woman and every child have access to the essential health services they need, including immunizations and health check-ups.

The two organizations are also working together to support countries to introduce and deliver COVID-19 vaccines under the vaccines pillar of the “Access to COVID-19 Tools – Accelerator” (ACT-A) initiative, along with Gavi, CEPI and global immunization partners.

Additionally, the organizations are strengthening health systems through primary health care, as agreed in the Declaration of Astana, and the UN High-level declaration on UHC, in order to accelerate achievement of universal health coverage and Sustainable Development Goal 3 targets by 2030.

The World Health Organization

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.

For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus, visit www.who.int and follow WHO on TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedInTikTokPinterestSnapchatYouTube


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org. For more information about COVID-19, visit www.unicef.org/coronavirus.  Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.


Time to Press for Lasting Political Solution in Syria, Easing Its People’s Suffering amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Special Envoy Tells Security Council

18 Sep

With relative calm prevailing in Syria and the need to alleviate the suffering of its people all the more urgent amid the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to press ahead towards a lasting political settlement, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy told the Security Council during an 18 September videoconference meeting.

Endorsing General Committee’s First Report, General Assembly Adopts Upcoming Session Work Programme, Placing Responsibility to Protect, Situation in Ukraine on Agenda

18 Sep

The General Assembly, acting on the recommendation of its General Committee, today adopted a work programme and agenda for its seventy‑fifth session, deciding to include the item “responsibility to protect” in its discussions over the coming months and to take note that the COVID‑19 pandemic will affect practical arrangements of forthcoming events.

Security Council Renews Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2544 (2020)

18 Sep

The Security Council, in a videoconference meeting on 18 September, announced its decision to renew the mandates of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) — and the Special Adviser leading it — until 21 September 2021.