Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Trump races to catch up as Puerto Rico crisis escalates

CBS News CBS News CBS News CBS News
Connie Andrews | 02 October, 2017, 00:12

Trump told reporters Wednesday that his administration was looking at a new waiver, but he said, "We have a lot of shippers and a lot of people and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don't want the Jones Act lifted." Sen.

With its government finances in a shambles, Puerto Rico needs all the help it can get. Why is it always talked about after hurricanes, and how is Puerto Rico impacted by the maritime law?

Hurricane Maria hit the island as a Category 4 storm back on September 20, which killed at least 16 people and left around 3.4 million residents without power and water. Foreign ships in nearby countries could reach Puerto Rico quickly with aid supplies, but the Jones Act discourages them from doing so.

Later in the morning while speaking to manufacturers, Trump said that the relief effort had been hampered by Puerto Rico's location and seemed to express frustration with local officials.

The Jones Act requires items shipped between USA ports to be on American-flagged vessels with American crews, which has made the cost of receiving supplies unbearably high for the island commonwealth. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke had waived the law earlier this month to help ease fuel shortages in the Southeast following hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

"We're deeply disappointed with the response received from the White House refusing to do so", Soto said after the Trump administration's initial response to waiving the federal requirement.

"FYI, @realDonaldTrump, Puerto Rico is part of U.S. Territory and should be given the help they need by our government", actress Alyssa Milano tweeted.

Trump's waiver is in response to Rosselló's request, according to the White House.

Meanwhile, containers full of aid supplies are sitting in the port of San Juan, unable to be delivered. Likewise, it costs far more to ship US-produced goods to Puerto Rico than it does to Jamaica.

The Umbrella singer, who is from Barbados, another island in the Caribbean, posted an image of the front page of Wednesday's (27Sep17) New York Daily News reporting on Puerto Ricans' distress.

Life on the island remains hard, however, with residents lining up in the sweltering heat to get gas, food and cash.

Many of its 3.4 million residents have been without electricity, reliable drinking supplies and other basic necessities since the storm struck.

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