Relief Efforts in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

Arnold Nichols
February 3, 2018

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it is not cutting off food and water supplies to Puerto Rico despite reports that it meant to do so. The network reported that the agency planed to halt deliveries within the week, and interviewed Alejandro De La Campa, FEMA's director of the island, who explained that by continuing to provide food and water, the agency was hindering Puerto Rico's economic recovery by deterring people from grocery stores.

Audio will be available later today. "As progress continues from response to recovery across the island, we will continue to support the needs of survivors supporting the government of Puerto Rico".

He said the information the FEMA official provided NPR was not false but also "not completely accurate".

In a reversal, FEMA said it would not withdraw aid from Puerto Rico beginning January 31. Marco Rubio, who also represents Florida, who pointed out many in America have misconceptions about Puerto Rico, which may compound the problem.

On Tuesday, in response to NPR's story, the government of Puerto Rico issued a statement saying they had not been informed "that supplies would stop arriving, nor did the Government of Puerto Rico agree with this action".

"I hope Mayor Cruz's presence at #SOTU will remind the president and my colleagues in Congress of our urgent responsibility to help Puerto Rico fully recover and rebuild", Gillibrand tweeted Monday.

Residents of San Isidro, Puerto Rico, carry food and water provided by FEMA to a neighborhood without electricity or running water last October. "We look forward to working with the Legislature to pass this important funding".

FEMA's Wednesday statement does not explicitly say whether there will be any changes in distribution or quantity of aid for the island. "We have the same rights as other Americans", another Puerto Rican resident said, claiming that Trump isn't doing everything he can and should be for them.

During the past decade, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has been facing an island-wide recession. Hurricane Irma first hit in early September, knocking out the electrical grid for much of the island.

More than three months after Hurricane Maria made landfall on the island, Puerto Rican government officials estimated almost 45 percent of people are still without power just before the new year.

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