Dire Conditions on Puerto Rico a Week After Hurricane

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico —  Exactly one week since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the situation on the island is going from bad to worse. Basic supplies are in short supply, most residents have no power, and there are those who say the federal government isn’t doing enough to help. 

It’s been a week since Maria hit Puerto Rico. Most of the island remains without power. Food,medicine, and fuel are running out.  The Department of Defense  says more than 40 percent of the population is without drinking water

“Help needs to get into people’s hands now. Not tomorrow, not later, now”
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who’s been wading through floodwaters herself trying to help anyone she can, says, with tears in her eyes, the situation has become nothing short of a humanitarian crisis.

“When we call for help, we’re not calling for ‘give me a little bit more food’ help we’re calling for ‘give a baby some water’ help.”

The Pentagon says it will grow, possibly double, the 2,500 active-duty troops it’s sending to Puerto Rico. But the federal response has faced criticism from people like San Juan Resident Joselyn Velasquez:

She says, “The aid is too slow. They say that it is coming from the United States, but who are they giving it to because I haven’t received any at my house?” 

FEMA and President Trump insist the primary issue that’s holding up help is logistics.
“It’s very tough because it’s an island.  In Texas, we can ship the trucks right out there.”

The Navy’s hospital ship, the USNS Comfort will be heading to Puerto Rico. It isn’t expected to be able to set sail from Baltimore until Saturday, and it will take three to five days to get there.

FEMA also says the main reason more money hasn’t been earmarked for recovery yet because it’s hard to tell who needs what at the moment. Because of the power situation, Puerto Ricans can’t yet call or go online to apply for assistance. 

(Hena Doba, CBS News)

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