Hurricane Irma: Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands brace for storm

After Hurricane Irma made landfall in St. Martin, those living in Puerto Rico are now trying to prepare for the hurricane of a lifetime.

Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. So what does that mean for those living there and the support they could receive from Washington?

>> Read more trending news 

So far, CNN reports that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been deployed to the island. About 400 to 500 people from FEMA have been assigned to both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands at this time to help with preparation before the storm and response after Irma leaves.

>>Read: Hurricane Irma: Live updates

The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, has warned those living in flood-prone areas to go to shelters before Irma gets close. He also declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard.

Because of the declaration, there could be federal aid on its way once Irma blows through the island.

>>Photos: Hurricane Irma gets closer to U.S. 

Puerto Rico had been battling financial difficulties even before Irma formed. It has $74 billion of debt and another $50 billion in pension obligations, CNN Money reported.

The territory’s current budget does have a $15 million emergency fund, according to officials.

>>Read: Hurricane Irma: How coin, frozen cup of water could keep you from getting sick

In the Virgin Islands, Gov. Kenneth Mapp ordered a curfew that started at 6 a.m. local time Wednesday. 

Both areas were hit by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The storm caused billions of dollars worth of damage, The Atlantic reported. Hugo was a Category 4. Irma is a Category 5.

Hurricane Track
Enhanced Satellite

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.