The U.S. government is planning to airlift about 3,000 Puerto Ricans out of the island struggling after Hurricane Maria to Florida and New York.
Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Ron Roth confirmed that plans to transport Hurricane Maria survivors from Puerto Rico to the continental U.S. have been under development since Oct. 30, when the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program was announced.
FEMA and Puerto Rico's government under Gov. Ricardo Rossello are finalizing plans to carry out the airlift.
"At the governor's request, FEMA will be providing transportation assistance to select locations in the continental United States," FEMA said in a statement. "Priority of transportation will be available to those approximately 3,000 survivors who are still residing in shelters."
Further details on the criteria used to determine who qualifies as a survivor primed for airlift transportation were not readily available.
FEMA is working with officials in Florida and New York to establish an agreement for the states to accept survivors.
Shortages of food and water in Puerto Rico are ongoing as only 21.6 percent of grid electricity and 71.58 percent of running water have been restored. When Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico in mid-September, the storm produced widespread damage.