On Puerto Rico, almost all of the island remains without access to power, clean water, food and fuel, a week after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.
Many residents are criticizing the federal government and say aid has not been arriving fast enough. This is San Juan resident Joselyn Velazquez.
Joselyn Velazquez: “The aid is too slow. They say it is coming from the United States, but who are they giving it to? Because I haven’t received any at my house. No one has knocked on my door and said, ’Here’s some rice.’”
Under withering criticism, President Trump held a press conference Tuesday in which he congratulated himself on his response to Puerto Rico’s disaster, repeating nearly a dozen times that he was doing a “great,” “amazing,” “tremendous” and “incredible” job. Trump also says he will visit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands next Tuesday.
The Trump administration has also denied a request from several members of Congress to waive shipping restrictions to help get gasoline and other supplies to Puerto Rico faster. The decision came even though the Department of Homeland Security waived what is called the Jones Act twice in the last month following hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which hit the mainland United States.
Maria was the most powerful hurricane to strike the island in nearly a century. It destroyed the island’s entire electrical grid and caused severe flooding and widespread damage to homes and infrastructure. Flights in and out of Puerto Rico are still severely restricted, and hospitals are struggling to provide care, with limited access to electricity and dwindling supplies. We’ll have more on the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico after headlines.