Gov. Cuomo heads to Puerto Rico to assist with Hurricane Maria recovery

NEW YORK (WABC) -- More than seven months after the wrath of Hurricane Maria, Governor Andrew Cuomo returned to Puerto Rico to re-assess, re-evaluate and re-examine.

The governor and his 10-member tactical assignment team toured a neighborhood in the municipality of Toa Baja, where volunteers continue to work to repair flooded homes.

"We believe this is a crucial time for Puerto Rico long-term," said Cuomo. "They have the financial oversight board, they have a significant loss to their economy and they're still battling back from Hurricane Maria."

The information gathered during the one-day trip will provide a roadmap for state leaders as they custom-design New York's commitment to the recovery effort.

"We are working, but it's far from over. All the work that we have to do to rebuild our houses," says Toa Baja Mayor Betito Marquez.

Part of Cuomo's initiative involves about 500 SUNY and CUNY students who will arrive on the island in June. Young, energetic 'muscle' to labor alongside skilled workers - all under the guidance of construction experts.

"I don't think about too much, I just try to act, you know - and do the thinking later," says volunteer Tamara Maysonet.

Helping to fund the governor's initiative is a $500,000 commitment from UNICEF.

"And this is something that requires more resources and support. It shouldn't be loans and grants. It should be funding to help people rebuild their homes and their families and their lives so they can stay here and rebuild Puerto Rico," says Bronx Assemblyman Marcos Crespo.

Also, to address the high unemployment on the Island, a New York-based team will train workers to help rebuild home and support the local economy.

Eyewitness News Reporter Joe Torres traveled to the island with the governor to see the recovery progress.
Watch Joe's live reports from the island on Channel 7 and abc7NY.

RELATED: WATCH: 7 questions for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello

WATCH: Crisis in Puerto Rico (from Sept. 2017)

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