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Puerto Rico is still in survival mode after Maria: private investor


Arian Rodriguez covers himself with a tarp as residents wait in the rain to register with FEMA more than two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island, on October 9, 2017 in Jayuya, Puerto Rico.

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Arian Rodriguez covers himself with a tarp as residents wait in the rain to register with FEMA more than two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island, on October 9, 2017 in Jayuya, Puerto Rico.

A recovery is not the top item on many Puerto Ricans’ minds after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory nearly three weeks ago, a private equity investor who pledged $10 million to aid efforts said Tuesday.

“It is way too early to even think about recovery. Right now, it’s about survival,” said Orlando Bravo, a Puerto Rico native and co-founder of private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

“You have shelters, towns, rural communities that are running extremely low to this day — almost three weeks after the hurricane hit — on food and water,” Bravo told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

The Bravo Family Foundation has committed $2 million initially and $8 million over time to hurricane relief efforts. Bravo has been flying planes to the U.S. territory with supplies and has traveled to areas in western Puerto Rico that had still not received aid.

Supplies included 800 pounds of water, food, diapers and baby formula. The foundation has also partnered with paint retailer Sherwin-Williams to directly distribute supplies.

About a week after the hurricane hit, Bravo said he spoke with high school friends and family members and noticed areas that hadn’t received government aid.

“So, we stepped up and said, ‘Look, we not only have to make a financial pledge in the short term, but we have to set up our own delivery network to go directly to those towns that are in need,'” Bravo said.

Puerto Rico’s Gov. Ricardo Rossello has asked Congress to consider about $1.4 billion in funding to help with recovery.

The Trump administration submitted a request to Congress to approve $29 billion in disaster relief funds to assist victims of recent hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Other companies have stepped in to help. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he will speak with Rossello about helping get the island’s devastated power grid back online.

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