Trump homeland security officials praise recovery efforts in Puerto Rico
Trump homeland security officials praise recovery efforts in Puerto Rico
03 October, 2017, 02:01
In the wake of Hurricane Maria, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz has been a visible presence on the ground in the Puerto Rican capital.
She implored the president, who is set to visit the US territory on Tuesday, to "make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives".
He added that 10,000 federal forces are on the island, including 7,200 troops.
Hundreds of people line up to buy ice at a local plant in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, September 30, 2017. And the administration announced a three-star general overseeing the US military's efforts to move supplies into and throughout the island would go to Puerto Rico.
Trumpsaid he was not aware of Duke's "good-news" remark. On that front, she ran into winds as fierce as Maria.
Earlier, Cruz, exhausted of the slow-paced rescue and relief efforts, had said: "We are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency, and the bureaucracy". President Trump, who tweeted more than 15 times over the weekend about the National Football League, didn't mention Puerto Rico once.
Saturday morning, Trump tweeted from his golf resort in Bedminster, NJ, "Such poor leadership ability from the mayor of San Juan and others who are not able to get their workers to help".
Thousands more Puerto Ricans got water and rationed food Friday as an aid bottleneck began to ease.
According to the administration, more than 90 percent of the island now is now accessible; some 200 gas stations are open.
And they are already conflicting with the emerging reality of life on the United States territory, where almost half the population remains without drinking water, hospitals struggle to stay open, food is scarce and 97% of people have no power. He said the island is "totally unable" to handle the catastrophe on its own. "It's been wiped out".
President Donald Trump says Washington is - in his words - "fully engaged in the disaster and the response and recovery effort". "When you don't have food for a baby, it's not a good news story". "I'm sorry but that really upsets me and frustrates me", Cruz said. "When you go down, you have to get up and that is exactly what we are doing".
Cruz responded with a tweet of her own, saying there is no time for distractions as the USA territory recovers from the September 20 storm.
The President highlighted the massive devastation that has played out in the nine days since Hurricane Maria hit.
Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré led the military response in 2005 to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
On Saturday afternoon Trump sent out complimentary tweets about Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, Rep. Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon of Puerto Rico and Kenneth Mapp, governor of the US Virgin Islands.
"Let me clarify", she said Friday upon her arrival in San Juan. "This is a people are dying story".
Trump is expected to survey the damage Tuesday.
Traveling with Duke were TSA Administrator David Pekoske, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, Semonite, Coast Guard VADM Karl Schultz, DHS infrastructure official Christopher Krebs, and Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon. Two departures from O'Hare Airport are set to arrive in Puerto Rico by mid-afternoon. With 16 people dead as a result of the storm, and that number likely to grow, he wants an operation to evacuate everyone from the island, especially the elderly, with sicknesses.
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CORRECTION: This story has been revised throughout to correctly attribute all quotes to the interview subjects who said them. Duke was speaking to reporters on the tarmac in San Juan before boarding a helicopter for an aerial look at the devastation.
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Life on the island remains hard, however, with residents lining up in the sweltering heat to get gas, food and cash. Meanwhile, containers full of aid supplies are sitting in the port of San Juan , unable to be delivered.
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