As of Monday, they are still waiting for a Disaster Declaration — six days.
For events like hurricanes, you will see presidential actions being taken well in advance of landfall. Presidential declarations of emergency or even a disaster, seem to come like clockwork.
The almost always "given declaration" is one that comes immediately after an earthquake. They have been called, "CNN Disasters" since they are the immediate news event of the day and everyone can see the damages and destruction. Note update from initial posting:
"Major disaster declarations took on average 63 days in FFY19. PR ahead of that average timeline & federal assistance already being provided under Presidential Emergency Declaration." Courtesy of Disaster Badger, Jerry Quinn, who tracks these types of things.
I am amazed that I have not seen such a declaration for Puerto Rico (as of Monday, 1-13-20). We had these types of immediate declarations for Loma Prieta and Northridge earthquakes that both happened in California. Perhaps we can say that decision-makers are "distracted' by other news and actions being taken at the federal level.
Some might automatically blame the president, based on the title of the declaration, but there are staff who should keep these processes moving along quickly when there is a need for action by the federal authorities.
I can't ascribe specific blame because I don't have the facts of the issue. I can only compare events and in this case Puerto Rico appears to be getting the short end of the stick, which is defined as a situation, opportunity or outcome which is less favorable than situations, opportunities or outcomes experienced by or available to others.
Here is the NPR update from Monday, Jan. 13, Dozens Of Earthquakes Continue To Shake Puerto Rico.